It’s hard to find joy in tasks we don’t like to do – and, unfortunately, many of the tasks we like the least are the ones we have to do every day. For some of you, staying on top of cleaning may be the task that gets you down. For others, it might be the endlessly growing list of unread emails demanding your attention. Although it can be hard to find joy in working through these tedious tasks, it’s certainly not impossible. Let’s take a look at a few mindset tweaks that may just get you there.
Focus on the big picture
One of the biggest problems with doing tedious tasks is that they seem so meaningless. The sense that they’re meaningless makes us feel that they’re a waste of time. The solution is to make tasks worthy of our time.
Perhaps the best way to do that is to keep your mind focused on the big picture. This means clearly defining your life goals. What is it you’re moving toward? Is it owning your own business, starting a family, travelling the world, or something else?
After getting a clear grasp of your goals, the second step is to think about how your everyday tasks fit into that larger picture. Maybe the accounting work you don’t want to do is a necessary part of understanding how to run a business. If you can stick to a weekly work schedule, you should be able to fit in every bit of adventure you’re looking for when travelling. And being diplomatic with demanding clients may be excellent training for becoming a parent!
Whatever the specifics are, tracing how a tedious task relates to your larger life goals will add an extra layer of meaning to anything you do – and that extra layer of meaning should spark joy.
Build your gratitude muscle
We all have built-in habits of thought. When it comes to tedious tasks, those built-in thoughts are usually negative and often of the “woe is me” variety. The good news is that you don’t have to passively follow whatever thoughts come up. Instead, you can actively change them.
It’s best to start out simple. Think about one thing you are grateful for in a tedious task. For example, if the task is to clean your house, then you might be grateful that it allows you time to organize your thoughts. Or, you might appreciate how lucky you are to have a home in a world where so many people don’t. The point is to build your gratitude muscle by getting clear about the things for which you’re grateful. Think it, say it, and, even better, write it down.
Accept that not everything is full of joy
Although this may sound counter-intuitive, it also works. Rather than trying to force joy into every activity, it’s helpful to make peace with the fact that some tasks are not fun. Not everything was made to be joyous.
Accepting this fact takes away some of the (tiring) mental energy spent on trying to make everything joyous. When you’re not focused so much on forcing joy, it has space to grow all by itself. Any joy that comes will be accompanied by the added benefit of surprise, and this unexpected style of joy is one of the finest kinds available!
One step at a time
It’s true that not every task sparks joy – especially not the tedious ones. However, by focusing on the big picture, building your gratitude muscle, and accepting that joy doesn’t naturally arise in every moment, you can take a small but decisive step towards adding more of it to your everyday tasks.
We hope that these tips will help you to find a little more joy in the tasks you don’t enjoy so much. It’s not always easy, but it is worth it! What are some of your favorite ways to make tedious tasks more enjoyable? Share them with us in the comments below – we would love to hear from you.