Love the Work you Do
This post originally appeared on the blog “Creative Grease” in April 2011.
You love your job. Your work is exciting, interesting, inventive, and you’re damned good at it. But not matter what you do for a living, no matter how much you love what you do, there comes a time when you’re stuck with a project that is just…meh. Maybe it’s not challenging enough, maybe it’s for a client, boss, or colleague that you don’t like, maybe it just feels like busywork, or maybe it’s outside of your comfort zone or familiar skillset.
And boy does it suck. But what can you do?
- Break it down and cross it off. Overwhelmingly large projects are even more overwhelming when they’re not fun. Break the whole thing down as far as it you can, into teeny tiny little micro-tasks, and cross them off as you go. Completion is often its own reward, and something doesn’t have to be huge to be check-offable.
- Make it a challenge. Pick a part of the task to get done in 30 minutes, or use a different/unfamiliar tool to do it. Change things up a bit.
- Find something to get excited about. Think about another project that you loved working on. What did you like about it? Find something familiar on your current project, and you’ll get excited about that too.
- Was the project more exciting at the start than it is now, a few months down the line? Try to remember what excited you then, and let that carry over into your current work.
- Regress and play pretend. If the client or project manager is the problem, pretend the work is for a client you love. Silly? Yep, but surprisingly effective (and fun!).
- Do the hardest, most uncomfortable part first – everything else will seem easy in comparison, and you’ll be surfing the rush of happiness from knowing that the worst is over.
- Reward yourself. “If I work on this for 2 hours, I can watch some Doctor Who” or “If I complete these 4 tasks, I can break for a cuppa and a few chapters of this book”. Rewards are strong motivation.
Whatever you do, it’s important to get out of the fun. Not just so you can get through your day, but so that your project gets done and done well. Bottom line: Work you love is always better than work you do.