Rewards are a great way to get yourself to do the things you don’t want to do. Some tasks are just too dreadful or boring, though, and you need something to make even starting them worthwhile. Concurrent rewards can help.
Photo by Elvert Barnes.
You’ve probably made a deal with yourself at some point when it comes to your work. You’ve promised yourself a tasty treat or some TV time as soon as you get through a task you can’t stand the thought of doing. Those kinds of rewards can work if you stick to them, but for the most tedious tasks on your plate, Alexandra Samuel at the Harvard Business Review recommends some instant gratification:
These tasks call for a concurrent reward: something you do while working so that you can bear to plow through your in-box backlog or complete your quarterly budget report. This type of reward works especially well for tasks that are time-consuming but not concentration-intensive. You can make even difficult tasks that require your full concentration more pleasant in the right setting.
Some of Samuel’s examples include setting up your laptop in one of your favourite restaurants, making a work date with a friend that needs to take on the same thing, or saving mindless work for when you watch TV at home. Music can be great for productivity and breaking up the tedium as well. Find something that you love and combine it with the tasks you dread in a way that makes working survivable, but it doesn’t ruin your rewards either. What kind of concurrent rewards do you use?
How to Trick Yourself Into Doing Tasks You Dread [Harvard Business Review]