“Oh, God, this is SO Annoying!”
How many times have you heard or thought that?
A lot, I bet. I get it during data entry. Or helping out the online gaming world I was involved with, when hundreds of item blueprints needed to be made. Or, as every teacher knows and dreads… grading.
I mean, hell, that’s why Scantron exists, right? Lazy teachers who “don’t wanna.”
But there’s something about tedium that’s really neat.
Tedium is exciting.
That’s right. Tedium is exciting. Here’s how it works. No, really, what I’m about to show you will take the worst chore of your life and make it totally palatable, like putting mental bacon on it.
Take some really shitty, godawful, horribly tedious task. The sort you’re doing to do, all the while your forebrain screams at you “DON’T WANNA DO IT.” You’ll hate doing it.
Mostly because you’re letting your forebrain scream “don’t wanna do it” at you.
Now, here’s what you’re going to do. DIVE IN.
While you’re doing it, pretend what you’re doing is a very specific form of dance or meditation, and focus on doing it as effortlessly and efficiently as possible. Fewest mouse clicks, most effortless sweeping, fewest folds until the kid’s underwear is piled neatly, whatever it is. FOCUS ONLY ON THAT.
About forty minutes in you’ll notice that your pulse is up, and you’re WAYYY more alert than you usually are. And when you get towards the end of your job, your pulse is really going to go up, not just a little bit, but like you were watching the COOLEST MOVIE EVER.
See, the reason you get bored and hate doing tedious tasks is that they don’t do much for your forebrain. Your forebrain would really rather be doing something else. But.. you know, red paper, green stamp, blue box, what’s in it for Mister Forebrain? Nothing, and it knows it, so it tells Miss Amygdala, “DON’T WANNA.” And Miss Amygdala responds with “I HATE this, I’m SO bored, GOD, kill me NOW.”
And then you’re miserable for four hours AND did a shitty job, too. Otherwise known as “force a small child to clean up their legos.”
But by embracing the tedium and focusing not on how stupid and robotic it is, but focusing on doing it as effortlessly as possible, your forebrain goes into “I’m the boss” mode, and monitors what you’re doing. The rest of the brain could give two shits anyway, and by the time you’re done, so far as it’s concerned, you just did two hours of intricate dance and are PSYCHED ABOUT LIFE. It’s like a triple-espresso and a rave all rolled into one. You feel better, you LOOK better (bored looks old, and not “good old,” either]. Plus, you get clean laundry.
And a much better attitude, which people pick up on. People are nicer to you when your body language says “I’m awesome and I just kicked ass!” than when it says “I hate my life and don’t want to pick up my legos.”