How do you get through mind-numbing tasks?
June 1, 2005 5:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm dealing with some boring things to do at work. I'm wondering what things you do (mentally, emotionally, procedural 'tricks', self-benefits/rewards, discipline, etc.) to get yourself through stuff you find excruciatingly boring, but necessary.

One of the reasons I enjoy doing what I'm currently doing (being a legal secretary) is that my mind is kept challenged and alert throughout most of the day by a variety of tasks.

However, I recently changed positions, and this position includes filing duties. (At my old firm, we had separate file clerks.) This task is very unexciting to me -- it involves filing paper away, creating necessary subfiles, etc.

I'm wondering how other people get through tasks they very much dislike ... what things you set yourself up with, what reward/punishment system, what things you tell yourself, and so on.

(I should note that this fortunately is not a huge part of my job, probably more a weekly-type duty -- except for right off the bat, where there will be a very large portion of "make-up" filing that my predecessor didn't accomplish.)
posted by WCityMike to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Wasn't there just a thread on this about 2 weeks ago? It must not have had the word "boring" in it because the search is failing me.
posted by matildaben at 5:46 AM on June 1, 2005

Best answer: Well you could click on the selfdiscipline tag right after your own post and find another. With a link to a third post. So yeah.
posted by grouse at 5:58 AM on June 1, 2005

Best answer: Indeed.
posted by prostyle at 6:01 AM on June 1, 2005

Make a game of it. See how many you can do in an hour and then try to break that record.
posted by bondcliff at 6:51 AM on June 1, 2005

Response by poster: Ah. Thanks for the referrals, guys. Shoulda Googled/searched, I'd have saved myself my question for the week.
posted by WCityMike at 7:40 AM on June 1, 2005

I find that a couple of minutes of mindful breathing is all I need to dissipate the dread and/or tedium associated with an unpleasant task. This works before starting the task and also when I need a break.
posted by teleskiving at 8:07 AM on June 1, 2005

What teleskiving said. It also works during the task. Treat the job itself as a kind of meditation, and stay mindful to what you're doing as you do it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:19 AM on June 1, 2005

I've always found music to be the best mind occupier while doing tedious tasks. That and recreational drugs, but most employers frown on that.

I've got a pet theory that a portion of monotony comes from one's time sense. Music allows one to disconnect from one's normal time sense and quite literally makes the day fly by.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:39 AM on June 1, 2005

Think of those filing jobs as mental quiet time--time to sing to yourself, make up stories in your head, philosophize, simply think about things while keeping your hands busy. Music helps.
posted by Anonymous at 11:38 AM on June 1, 2005

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