Friday, November 24, 2017

I’m too bored to do this for another second!

I am often asked by patients, “How can I get myself to do stuff I don’t want to do?”
To this, I give the simple answer, “Switch up the stuff you’re doing, so that you aren’t totally bored.”
I am not a big believer in willpower. At best, people can only bully their way through a task for so long. Willpower may work for short bursts, mainly when you are newly motivated, but it doesn’t work in the long run.
In the real world, we often have to do stuff that needs to be done, but we get no direct reward for doing it. We like the idea of getting the boring project done, but we really don’t want to do it.
The project could be laundry, exercise, or a big report—we want it done, but we really don’t want to do it.
Free cartoons at

Break it up into small chunks
The old question is: How do you eat an elephant? The answer: One bite at a time.
For example, if I am working on a large writing project I take regular breaks, usually every hour and fifteen minutes. Then, for the next 15 minutes, I do something else that needs to be done, such as move laundry from the washer or clean the bathroom. Yep, it’s true. I don’t want to do the laundry or clean the bathroom, but I do want it done.
After 15 minutes, I go back to my writing project. (I have a load in the dryer as we speak.)
By changing activities, I have found that I can get more done and stay motivated to complete tasks.

Research from the University of Toronto backs up my actions
University of Toronto (U of T) News reports, “…according to new University of Toronto research, there may be no noticeable dip in our motivation and ability to do something as long as we switch up tasks throughout the day.”

Dan Randles, is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Michael Inzlicht, a professor of psychology at U of T Scarborough. He says, “While people get tired doing one specific task over a period of time, we found no evidence that they had less motivation or ability to complete tasks throughout the day.”

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