Lyne Tumlinson, CPBS, ACC, CAE, career fitness coach at Career Lift, shares advice on how to find joy in the tasks that you don't find so enjoyable. Step one is to ditch the mental battle that they often bring on.
Associations Now: Employees often want to be more effective and fulfilled in their jobs but also don't want to work even longer hours. What can they do?
Tumlinson: First, you need to consider the job tasks and activities that bring you both high energy and high performance. Then think about the tasks that drain energy from you and, simply put, perform fewer of those tasks that don't energize you.
But what if saying "no" to tasks that drain you or leave you unfulfilled isn't an option?
Well, then you need to start to undrain yourself. The first step is to ditch the mental battle before the task. Not only do we reinforce how unpleasurable a task will be before we engage in it, but we also exponentially amplify the drain.
Then you need to fully commit to the execution of the task. Remember, the commitment is just for now, for this moment. You're not committing to perform this task for the rest of your life.
So you're committed to the task, but it's still painful. What's next?
Remember that it's OK to not love every task equally. It's OK to derive a different kind of satisfaction from the task that tends to drain. It may be the satisfaction of executing it proficiently, efficiently, or without resistance. Discover what the satisfaction point is for you, and let go of the notion that you have to love this task. If loving it is your standard, the task will always lose.
And now, the fun part: Reward yourself for performing a routine task. If you think it sounds cheesy, it is. But it also works.
[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "The Joy in Joyless Tasks."]