Stop Procrastinating - Dealing with Boring or Pointless Tasks

This trigger plays a role in many instances of procrastination and is often the root cause of other triggers like resentment or feeling overwhelmed. After all it is only natural to feel angry about being asked to do something that you feel is boring or pointless. Similarly, if you believe that your usual level of energy and motivation will be sapped by having to do something boring then you may feel that you will never be able to complete it. Our Overcoming Procrastination eBook is designed to help you understand the problem better and learn some successful ways of dealing with it.

Dealing with Boring or Pointless Tasks

There are several things that you need to ask yourself with regard to this particular trigger. Think about one particular task that you have identified and ask yourself the following questions:

Is the task something that you have to do regularly?
If the task is something that is a regular part of your job then it is worth considering some other options as detailed below.

Is the task a one-off?
If the task is a one-off then you might be better off just getting on and doing it as it could be difficult to justify the time and effort needed to assign it to someone else or to automate it.

Is the task beneath your technical ability?
If so, then should you be doing it? Is this a task you can delegate? Presumably the organization would prefer to pay you for work that couldn't be done more cheaply by someone else. Can you make a case to your boss that you shouldn't be doing this work as it represents poor value for money and the organization would benefit if you spent more time on tasks commensurate with your skill level?

Is the task repetitive?
If the task is repetitive then can it be automated in any way? Is there a case for developing a macro or computer program to do it? Would it be possible for you to script the task and outsource it? Is this a task you can delegate? Can you put a case to your boss that it makes financial sense to do this type of task in some other way?

Do you feel that the task is pointless?
If the task really is pointless then you should bring this up with your boss. It is not unknown for some jobs to be done a certain way, or done at all, long after they cease to be useful or necessary.

If you think that the organization is wasting money by doing something that has outlived its usefulness or which could be done differently then you should discuss this with your boss. You may discover either that the output from the task is used in some way that you are not aware of or that you don't need to do it anymore.

If all of the above strategies fail and you are stuck with a task you find boring, then the best approach is to break it up into smaller chunks and treat each one as a task in itself. You can then discipline yourself to tackle the work in ten or twenty minute sessions and intersperse it with more interesting things.

Breaking down tasks

It can be a good idea to schedule these for times of the day when you are not at your most creative and to treat them as a respite from more demanding work.

These types of task are notorious for leaching away motivation the longer they remain undone as they tend to accumulate and you may find yourself facing a backlog of boring work that feels overwhelming. If these types of task form a significant part of your working day then you need to face up to the fact that you will need a strategy to deal with them otherwise your personal productivity, reputation, and career prospects may all suffer.

However tempting it may be to assume that the situation will sort itself out, it probably won't and any effort that you put in to dealing with it will be worthwhile.

You may also be interested in:
Stop Procrastinating | Symptoms of Procrastination | Why People Procrastinate | Dealing With Tasks Involving Confrontation | Tasks You Resent Being Given | Tasks That Appear Overwhelming | Tasks You Don't Know How to Begin | Tasks You Are Afraid of Completing | Lack of Motivation.

Key Points

  • Tasks that appear boring or pointless are easy to keep putting off.
  • Try to identify whether the task really needs to be done. If it does, can it be done another way or can someone else do it?
  • Schedule boring tasks for times of the day when you are not at your most creative. Treat them as a respite from more demanding work.
  • Break boring tasks up into smaller chunks and treat each one as a task in itself.
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