How To Motivate Yourself To Do The Boring Things You Need To Do

If you heard the pep talks I have to give myself on an almost daily basis. Like, out loud! To amp myself up to file paperwork, or go to the bank, or break down that enormous cardboard box.

I used to say “Get it together, Von Bargen” but that’s not very nice. So now I say “You can do this! Just do it for 20 minutes and then you can stop.” Like a pep talk you’d give an overtired toddler!

All of this is to say: If you procrastinate doing boring things you know you need to do? I get it.

So this is my round of the tools + methods that have worked for me, my coaching clients, and my course participants to get motivated to do boring, important things. If you try even ONE, I bet you’ll see a big difference! 

4 Ways To Motivate Yourself To Do Boring Things You Know You Need To Do

 

Try “body doubling”

I learned about body doubling a few weeks ago from my Facebook group for people who bought the $75 self-development ecourse bundle.

Body doubling is similar to co-working – something we do in my Facebook group, which is why it came up. But with body doubling the person might not even be working on the same task as you!  They are simply there, physically present in your space.

Body doubling for boring tasks might look like: 

  • Having a friend come sit in your bedroom and chat with you while you declutter your closet

  • Ask your partner or roommate to work on their laptop next to you as you plod through an online task you’ve been avoiding

  • You can even “sneak” body doubling in! If your partner is reading in the living room and you have some mending you’ve been avoiding, bring it into the living room so you can do it in their vicinity. 

Interestingly, body doubling is traditionally used by people who have ADHD, but like most adaptive methods + tools, it helps most people, whether they have that diagnosis or not. You can read more about body doubling here.

Set a “good enough” timer

Some boring life tasks can’t be “good enough-ed” (tax prep, I’m looking at you.) But things like decluttering a hall closet, writing a Craigslist ad, planning a holiday meal? Set a timer on your phone and when it goes off – the results are officially good enough.

And if your Boring Thing is something that will take multiple hours? Set a timer for 25 minutes and chip away at it a few times a week.

👉 RELATED: The Glorious Freedom Of “Good Enough” + How To Find It

Schedule the boring thing into your calendar + schedule a reward for after it

5 pm: Work on tax paperwork
6 pm: Get takeout from Bangkok Thai Deli

3 pm: Paint stair spindles
4 pm: Make a giant bowl of popcorn + watch Legally Blonde for the 3767007th time

8 am: Make vet appointments, doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments
9 am: walk to favorite coffee shop and get a latte + giant cookie

You’re smart. You get it!

It might seem silly or overly extravagant to give yourself such “big” treats for doing normal, boring adult-y things. But if you regularly find yourself feeling resentful, empty, martyr-y, or “Is this all there is”-ish … I’d venture the guess that you could do with a few more rewards in your life.

Also: TAX PAPERWORK IS AWFUL LET YOURSELF EAT SOME GREEN CURRY FOR GOD’S SAKE.

See if you can get someone else to do it!

If you truly hate doing that boring task but you share a home with someone who doesn’t mind doing it – can you swap with them? Kenny hates paperwork, but I don’t particularly mind it, so I do most of the paperwork in our household. I don’t like cleaning the bathrooms, but Kenny doesn’t mind so he does those.

Also: If you’re coupled up, make sure those boring tasks are evenly divided. If you’re not sure who’s doing more work, sit down with your partner and write out the tasks and responsibilities you take on in a given week, month, year. Reallocate as needed.

Is there a task you both hate? Rock, paper, scissors for it. I AM 100% SERIOUS. 

If you’ve been putting off a snore-worthy-but-important task these tools – body doubling, good-enough-ing, schedule + reward-ing, and outsourcing – will help!

P.S. Know you’ll want to come back to this? Pin it to your Pinterest board so it’s easy to find!

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4 Comments

  1. NZ Muse

    First time I’ve heard of body doubling! Not as creepy as it sounds, haha 🙂

    Reply
    • Mandi

      I didn’t know there was a name for this! I’m always telling people that I just need them to come babysit me while I do my work.

      Reply
  2. Anna

    A favorite of mine is temptation pairing- pairing an activity you don’t like with one you do, like watching TV on the treadmill. I have certain podcasts that I’m only “allowed” to listen to when I’m running or cleaning or doing mindless admin.

    Reply
    • Sarah Von Bargen

      So smart!

      Reply

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