How to Get Work Done When You Don't Want to Work

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There are always things in our lives and businesses that need to get done, but we don’t always want to do them. So how do we motivate ourselves to do them anyway?

I consider myself a work-life integration and productivity ninja. I know a few things about time and task management, and I share my thoughts and techniques with my coaching clients and Facebook Group frequently. But there are some tasks on my to-do list that I’m resistant to, regardless of my ninja-skill methods.

You know what I’m talking about. The ones where you know how relieved you’ll feel after you finish, but that’s not enough to convince you to get started. Each and every time you face the task, it looks right back at you. LOL!

For me, the dreaded task in my business is doing show editing notes for The Refreshed Life Podcast. Don’t get me wrong: doing the show is a dream come true. But that does not make me love having to listen to the raw audio and make notes to hand over to our show’s editor.

It’s not a meaningless task. The process is critical to the editing process that brings our show to an audience each week. But I still don’t like to do it.

Let me tell you this, my friends: I will not admit defeat. I’ve figured out ways to knock out these danged notes in an efficient way no matter what.

I found ways to add a bit of fun into surviving the work that fills me with the most dread. And I’m sharing my mysterious ways with you.

1. It’s all about the playlist.

I love working to music, but it has to be the right music. If I’m going to get too into it, work is not going to happen. It has to be a perfect mix.

Amazon Music playlists have never failed me. They take what I Iike, work some magic to create a few lists to choose from, and they always do the trick. Always.

Get your tunes in order. That’s my first suggestion.

2. Set the scene.

I am obsessed with scented candles. Do you hear me? Obsessed. If you ever want to know the way to my heart, you now know. #sendmeacandle

Candles make everything better. And that includes work you dislike. With the music set, add the appropriate lighting and aroma and you’ll think you’re at a spa, except for that computer on your desk or lap looking at you funny.

3. Change your environment.

As the weather has gotten warmer, I’ve discovered that working on the patio is a wonderful treat. It gets me out of my office in the basement. That same playlist and candle transport easily to your backyard or patio.

If you have to get away from the house entirely, I’ve recently rediscovered how amazing the library is for focusing and getting hard work done. Pop in your headphones and you will be in the zone!

4. Put on some comfy clothes.

This may or may not sound like it could make a difference, but whenever I know I’m about to sit down to get some concentrated work done, I consider what clothing to put on to help me get into a better mental place.

I love off-the-shoulder tops, leggings, and comfy slipper socks - these are traditionally my go-to items.

They help me settle in and ultimately give me the feel goods I need to push through my tasks.

5. Plan with Pomodoro.

I’m a big fan of the Pomodoro Technique. This is when you work in sprints, then take a rest. It goes like this: Set a timer for 25 minutes, working as hard as you can to get through your task. At the end of that time, take a 5-minute break. Scroll social media on your phone. Get a cup of coffee. Go check on the kids. Then come back to your computer and knock out 25 more minutes, break, resume, until the task is finished.

A way I’ve recently taken this method to the next level is by making Pomodoro a group effort. No need to find a coffee shop or co-working space, though that’s delightful if you can swing it. I connect with a biz friend and invite them to co-work with me. It makes the time go by so fast and it holds me accountable.

You can do the same thing. If you don’t know who to connect with, you can post a message on the Refreshed Moms Group page and look for folks to work with you via a video conference (seriously - this is an open invitation). Your break time can be spent checking in on and encouraging one another. If you haven’t tried it, I really encourage you to do so. The support of a community coming together to help you get through is a beautiful thing.

6. Time to transition.

Sometimes you have a day when you have a chunk of responsibilities to knock out  - some of which you just don’t want to do. My advice to you when you face a day like that is to break up the duties. When you finish one task, go for a walk or run. You’ll get in your self-care, then have a hot shower to look forward to before embarking on the next bit of work you must attend to.

7. Draw It out!

I’ve recently gotten back into drawing. I find myself sketching and doodling, letting my mind do what it wants to do when I commit pencil to paper. This allows me to have a creative outlet while listening to the raw cut of the podcast (remember - I really don’t like creating podcast edit notes) while I still focus on the task at hand.

The main point

The moral of the story is this: think about things you enjoy, and ways you can incorporate them into a routine that helps you power through the work you don’t love. Getting it done as efficiently as you can helps open your day and week for more fulfilling tasks that remind you of what you value most in your life.

Want to watch my video on this topic?

Watch it right here:

Related topic:

Podcast: Working Well With the Time You Have