Eating that frog? Have some garlic butter

Sometimes the reason you can’t focus on a task is that it’s just not interesting. However good you are at managing your attention, the bottom line is that some things are so painfully boring that your brain hitches up its skirts and walks away.

You can muscle through the boredom – not everything in life has to be interesting – but it’s more fun not to. You’re better off making the boring interesting,

How? You have two options: you can find the interesting aspect hidden deep within the task, or you can make a game of it.

Find an intrinsic point of interest:

  • Focus on what you can learn from the task, even if that’s just about your own ability to focus on boring things.
  • Look for a way to improve something in the task, how you do it, or the tool you use for it.
  • Think of all the benefits this is bringing to you or your team (if it’s not, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it – it sounds pointless rather than just boring).

Gamify it:

  • Set up an imaginary judging panel in your head for technical and artistic scores. At least one of them must be corrupt and always score you 9.9. Have fun imagining the audience’s reaction and the behind-the-scenes drama.
  • Give yourself points for every step of the task and a reward for every X points. This method is good for tasks that are not only boring, but time-consuming. For this to work, you have to properly break the task down.
  • Imagine you’re doing this outside the International Space Station. Wear your oven mittens for a truly immersive experience and keep narrating for the benefit of both Mission Control and your EVA buddy. You can also narrate to an alien (recently arrived on Earth) or your rapt viewers on ESPN.

Tip: Don’t time or race yourself. You’ll get sloppy.

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