35 People Tell Us The One Thing That Makes Them Get Work Done When They Really Don’t Want To

Let’s get one thing straight: literally no job is perfect. Every single job, whether or not it’s your “passion,” is going to come with tasks that are never not going to be a pain in the ass. Maybe you want to try your hand at freelance writing; you’ll still have to spend your time actually sending pitches, or going over edits on the same piece for the third time, or tracking down an invoice that’s four months overdue. Maybe being an English teacher is your dream job; that doesn’t mean grading first-year papers is always going to be *fun* (especially when you’ve read the same argument about the symbolism in The Scarlet Letter dozens of times over). Or maybe you’re a web developer and love taking on ambitious projects; you’ll probably still have to spend some time tediously fixing relentless bugs. 

The point is, there’s no real way of getting around the less-than-glamorous parts of any job — especially if you want to be good at said job. So, we reached out to the greater TFD community via Twitter to get some tips for getting down to work (including housework!) when you’d rather be doing literally anything else. Of course, there were a lot of overlapping tips, but no two people follow the same productivity tactic in the same exact manner. To that end, we categorized these into broader tips for getting (and staying) on task, and included our favorite responses falling under each category. And, of course, if you don’t see your awesome hack for getting shit done listed, be sure to tell us about it in the comments!

Set A Timer

1. “Pomodoros, hands down. Set that timer for 20 minutes, and you’re not allowed to work on anything else. Put your phone in another room, grab a glass of water/tea, and get working.” – Tori

2. “Block out a specific amount of time for each task and hustle in that countdown! I even set a timer for my lists or else I use list-making as a procrastination tactic. Start with the thing I’m dreading the most so I can free up that mental space and energy to focus on what I love!” – Jackie

3. “Setting mini-deadlines for myself, like one hour then a snack or five pages then an episode of tv. I also try to imagine how much better I’ll feel when it’s done, and that definitely gives me some motivation to get going.” – Kandace

4. “Scheduling the heck out of myself — down to half-hour intervals.” – Vivi

5. “I’ve been doing time-blocking and batch tasks! Focus on completing results, not just dedicating time! I.e., I have to complete this project by 2 PM, not ‘I’ll do this project for two hours.’ Results-based goals help me stay focused!” – Steph

6. “Set a timer for five minutes and buckle down and work. After that, it’s okay to stop working completely or take a break. For myself getting started is the hardest part, and usually, I will keep going after five minutes, and even if I don’t, at least I got five minutes of work done.” – Natalie

Change Your Mindset

7. “I always remind myself of the positive impact completing the task will have. If I know some good will come of it, I’m more likely to do a good job quickly (especially if the impact is on others).” – Jessamyn

8. “I remind myself of the consequences of not getting the work done. In a flashback, I see what choices have led me to where I am and what could have been different IF I would have chosen not to leave the work at hand like this in the past. This helps me get back on track.” – Aditya

9. “I act as though finishing it will be a huge favor to someone else. I’m ready to put myself on the back burner, but not others.” – Mary

10. “I honestly take a breath, close my eyes and imagine my life without a job. It automatically makes me feel so blessed and motivated.” – Tiffany

11. “I remind myself how much guilt and anxiety I’ll feel if I don’t just get stuff done. Sometimes mediocre work is okay.” – Jill

Use Incentives

12. “Creating a tiny incentive. I like to make my to-do list (force myself to acknowledge all the things I do not want to do) and go get a fancy coffee or something as an encouragement to do the thing.” – Emily

13. “I treat myself so a badass tune and a treat to eat and knock it out the park.” – Souroush

14. “I give myself benchmarks for breaks. If I get to this point, you can go take a walk, watch a YouTube video, etc. Limit that break and go for the next benchmark.” – Taryn

15. “I straight up bribe myself. Usually with snacks. ‘Just write this one blog post, and as soon as you do, you can have those fruit snacks.'” – Jacqie

16. “Little rewards here and there — a 15 minute Pinterest sesh if I get two hours of work done. Little things like that.” – Marissa

17. “Reward myself! Usually with an episode of a TV show! For big projects completed, I might purchase something from my wishlist as a congratulations/job well done gift.” – Sam

Make A List

18. “I make a to-do list (including very important and not at all important things) and vow to do just one thing on it, then by the time I’ve done that I have momentum for a few other things.” – Kay

19. “Always do the worst thing FIRST in the morning. You see it with fresh eyes and it is out of the way first thing. A classical music or Disney music playlist doesn’t hurt either.” – Erin

20. “I make a list of what I need to do. The tasks shouldn’t be too large. Then I do what I’m dreading the most first. I get anxious thinking about things I don’t want to do, but by doing the most daunting thing first, I’m comforted it’s only going to get better as I get down my list.” – Brianna

21. “I usually make an extensive list of all of the mini tasks I have to complete to make it all come together. I also just remind myself a bunch of times that the fear of doing something is most of the time worse than actually doing it.” – Jessica Anne

22. “Breaking out my projects into little steps and tackling a little of each project starting steps to get some momentum. Crossing off a lot of little steps makes you feel like you are getting a lot done which is encouraging!” – Katelyn

Tweak The Ambience

23. “Mini rewards, things to look forward to, a quick shower — but mostly I just go to the library for the whole day and don’t leave until I do what I need to do. The change in scenery and the attitude of focus in a library really help.” – Ally

24. “Working in a new, different, or more exciting environment! If your work can be moved, try going to a local garden, your own yard, a cafe, honestly anywhere! A change of environment can be really motivating/inspiring for some people.” – Celine

25. “Change my surroundings! Whether it’s working in a conference room at work or changing desk chairs, sometimes it just takes a physical shift to get my motivation back!” – Leah

26. “If cleaning: put on your favorite song and speed clean as much as you can in that 3-5 min timeframe.” – Texanbelle

27. “Finding a good playlist that helps my mind focus has been essential for me. Certain music just helps me buckle down and power through.” – DG

Other Great Tips

28. “I make a ‘time to get shot done’ ritual of sorts; coffee, snack, music, sit down and get it down. The little steps help prepare me and put my brain into work mode.” – Leslee

29. “I’ll put on some of my fave YouTubers’ videos on productivity or some ‘clean with me videos’ and hopefully get inspired, just enough to tick one or two boxes off a to-do list. It usually builds up quite effectively from there so I get most of it done anyway and oh, coffee.” – Crisselle

30. “Sometimes, a nap. Fresher eyes after! Or, I decide to get *something* done even if it isn’t what needs to be. Still better than nothing and a good setup for an easier day tomorrow.” Carmen

31. “Dance. Jump around somewhere. Blast your favorite music. Then get that shit started once you got your rhythm started ;)” – Aly

32. “I do 30-60 minutes of physical exercise, take a cool shower, *then* get to it. somehow, I’m able to sweat out the procrastination and ride on the endorphins.” – Catherine

33. “I have been listening to motivational podcasts when I wake up and drink my coffee. I always allow myself time for me before I get settled to begin working on something. That way I’m less likely to stop working by convincing myself I need me time.” – Whitney

34. “A few things: motivate myself with food (I will do almost anything for food), let myself do a small task to get started instead of something overwhelming (pickup clothes instead of three loads of laundry), and this is weird but washing my face — it’s very refreshing!” – Kimberly

35. “I make myself update my client invoices. Seeing the hours I’ve put in for the week and the money I’ve earned (or, sometimes, haven’t earned) is usually enough to motivate me to stay on task for the rest of the day.” – Lindsey

Image via Pexels

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