I truly hate being bored. I don’t mean “I have nothing to do” bored, I mean “I’m doing something that requires less than 1% of my thoughts but doesn’t leave me free to think/do something else” bored.
I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment. I’ve noticed that most geeks also hate that latter form of boredom. I can’t say I’m surprised–most geeks are intelligent, creative, and like using their brains; the antithesis of boring work.
The problem with this is that with my job and with the jobs that many geeks have, we have rote, boring work that HAS to get done. This work is very easy to delay until it becomes a problem for me, for the geek, or for someone else at work. To avoid this, I employ the following strategies:
- Identify the boring work. If I want to avoid the work badly enough, I can conveniently “forget” that it exists. I try to identify what I have to do but might prefer to ignore at least once a week.
- Don’t delay gratification. I’m a morning person. If I try to kick off my day by getting the boring work done “first”, I may as well just go home. Instead of investing my high-energy morning creativity in interesting, creative tasks, I have just frittered it away by doing energy-sapping, boring work. By waiting to do boring work until my mid-afternoon slump, I maximize my time and energy investment. (Note: If I weren’t a morning person, I would probably reverse the process and do boring stuff first thing when I was mostly brainless.)
- Assign a time to boring work. Approving invoices is perhaps my most tedious task. When do I do it? Friday afternoons, of course. Why? My brain has already left the premises, so I may as well spend my time wisely and do my rote tasks then. Also, by assigning a time (which is on my calendar with a reminder), I don’t allow myself to conveniently “forget” to do the work.
But enough about me. How do you handle the boring parts of your job? What works for you? I’d love to learn new strategies!