Hello, everybody! You are listening to the 19th episode of Sensibly Happy podcast. This episode is about how to start enjoying the tasks that you don’t like.
You have probably asked yourself: “what makes one person more successful than another?” And this is a really valid question. Because if it’s something which we can control, we can use it in our daily life and be more successful as well. I’m convinced that there are some reusable ingredients of success. In this episode we are talking about how to finally understand why you don’t like certain tasks and find some effective ways of enjoying them despite everything.
Do you enjoy the tasks you do?
Hello dear listeners! Today we will talk about routines, about tasks, about the things that fill our daily lives. What do you do during your day while you’re not sleeping? Some tasks are usual for you, others are occasional; and except the time when you’re relaxing, you do something. What could be improved in those tasks? And how could they make your life happier?
To explain my idea, I will start from the question, “Do you remember the moments of anger while doing some tasks?” When you feel bad about doing this task right now, or in general, you don’t want to do this task. And you can’t wait to finish the task. Negative emotions inside you are boiling, and you continue performing the task till the end. This is about the moments when you know your final goal, but the process itself causes bad emotions. And this episode is about converting some of those emotions to positive ones. How can we do that? Continue listening.
Why don’t we like some tasks?
Let’s look closer at different reasons. Why do you feel bad sometimes while performing some tasks? What are the possible reasons? I have described at least those which I can remember right now.
№1 I don’t like the process itself
First of all, I don’t like the process itself; I really don’t like it. And every time while doing this, I can think to myself, “I hate that process! I don’t want to do it anymore!”
№2 I don’t have time right now
Another reason: I don’t have time right now to do this, but I should. There is some more important task right now for me, but I need to complete this one. And it’s not the right time for this task. But because of its urgency, I should complete it.
№3 Bad estimates
The third reason, bad estimates. For instance, I plan to do this in a certain amount of time and switch to some other process, but I’ve underestimated this one, and I continue doing that understanding that I’ve jeopardized my next task.
№4 This is just not my task
One more reason: I shouldn’t do this task, and it is not my duty to do this. But under some circumstances, because someone else has failed or made a mistake, I should do it for that person. So I want to finish this as quickly as possible.
№5 The results are not satisfying
Or, I don’t feel that the results are satisfying enough. I do this task for the first time, or I did it several times already. But I know that the results are not good, because I’m not good at it. So without expecting any positive results, I still need to complete the task.
If you’re not happy with the process, you waste your time
In any of those cases, the time that you spend with this task doesn’t bring you any good. Do you realize this? You burn yourself and waste those hours being in a negative mood. Do you realize this? You will complete the task, but all those hours that you spent on it will be wasted. We’ve just identified the problem. And the problem is: when you do something, and you don’t have any pleasure out of it, in most cases, you waste your time.
Key to enjoying a task
There is a related episode – E008 – about living the current moment and enjoy it. But this episode is a more specific one. It’s about how to do some tasks that you don’t like right now and enjoy them. And the key is to focus on the process, not on the result, not on the timing, not blaming someone other who forced you to do this task, but on the process itself. And by doing that, you can change a negative approach and be in a better mood while finishing the task. “Is it for real?” you can ask.
Society forces us to succeed and compete
Society tells us all the time that we should focus on the result. We should be result-oriented. All we do is for a result, for achieving something. Have you achieved something? Are you proud of something? Why are you better than others? What marks do you have? How speedy are you? Have you used your chance and became a successful person? All those phrases, all those questions, all those calls are a single social lush that whips you, that enchases you from your dreams, from being yourself. Don’t you feel that pressure? Don’t you feel that you should compete for something you don’t want? Then stop doing that! The solution is really simple: instead of focusing on the result, focus on the process.
Benefits of focusing on the process
What is good about focusing on the process?
First of all, you can find new interesting things about yourself. And this is really useful for atomic preferences concept (from Episode 12) – the concept that will help you find yourself.
The second benefit is that you can improve your skills by focusing on improvements instead of accomplishing that as quickly as possible. If you’ve done this task several times already, you can focus on improvements to do the task quicker and better next time. Because whenever you do this task for several hours, let’s say two hours, imagine how much time it is to improve your skills.
Focusing on the process distracts from focusing on negative things
One more benefit. When you think about the process, and you are focused on the process, you don’t focus on negative emotions at this moment, because your brain is busy with the process. And there is no space for negative emotions which burn you out.
Higher probability of success
And the last, but not the least benefit is that by enjoying the process, you’re more likely to have success in result, or at least a better quality in comparison to the situations when you want to complete the task very quickly. You’ve already heard how many benefits you can have by changing your approach and completing different tasks.
How to change the negative approach?
But how can you change that negative approach? What are the possible tools or tricks that could help you to switch? There are several, actually.
a) Slow down
First of all, you need to slow down. Does the pressure from understanding that you should do this task quickly help you to complete it? It doesn’t! What it gives is extra pressure. Stop tracking the clock all the time! You can definitely check sometimes how much time is left, but you shouldn’t do it all the time.
b) Accept the situation
Another tip, try to accept the situation as it is. You are doing the task right now, and that’s it. No need to return to the reasons why should you do this task. You can do it afterwards. Right now, you’re doing this task, and it’s a matter of fact.
c) Try to find some positive sides
If you don’t like this routine, try to think why exactly you don’t like it and how you can find at least some tiny element that you like in the process. For instance, if you’re cleaning something, you can enjoy clean surfaces, or enjoy feelings in your hands while moving with brush or textile, you can find something good in the process and focus on that good.
d) Accept that the next task will be postponed
If you don’t have time for this task right now, all that means is that you just can’t accept that you will be late for the next task. And all you need to do is to accept that! You will be late for the next task.
e) Use the process to improve
If you don’t like the results of your doing, try to find more information about the process to have better results. And every next time you’ll improve yourself and start doing better. You can watch some YouTube videos, or even buy some online course; you can find some blogs about the topic. Then you can get and use key pieces of advice. And every next time you practice it, you will be able to add new elements to the process. And even that process of improvement, of understanding that you are becoming better, will bring you joy!
Story 1: Installing a facade lamp
Now, I’ll tell you several stories from my life, which could bring you more understanding of what I mean by focusing on the process. The first story is about installing a lamp on the facade above the entrance to my house. I bought the lamp itself. I knew where exactly should I put it, and I had all the tools required to install the lamp, to attach wires, and to make it lit by using the switch. It was Saturday, so I had a lot of different plans for that day, and my estimate was that it would take around 15 minutes.
First of all, I inserted wires into the channel, which was prepared upfront. It already took some time. Then I started drilling holes for screws, and it wasn’t as easy as I expected. Then I lost somewhere my favourite screwdriver. After I prepared everything and attached the lamp to the wall, it didn’t want to fit tight. So I spent some time on that as well. And after everything was attached, suddenly switch stopped working. So I disassembled everything to understand what was the reason.
Of course, long story short, each of those steps took some time for me to make logical conclusions and generate ideas on how to perform it in the best possible way. And in total, it took more than two hours instead of 15 minutes. I was really angry! My original plans were broken. And it was the moment for me to rethink the process itself. Why was I angry? I love doing things. I love doing all those technical tasks. I love every single task in that process. But the thing is that I was focused on the result, I was focused on the idea that I should do it very quickly and switch to some other process. Did that determination help me to do things quicker? No. Anyway, I spent those two hours. And did the focus on the result helped me to enjoy the moment, to enjoy the process, or to enjoy the result? None of those! I spent more than two hours and got no satisfaction. But if my focus would have been on the process itself, I would have enjoyed those two hours and the result.
Story 2: Fishing
The next example is about fishing. Some of you probably know something about fishing, other of you don’t have anything in common with that. But what do we all know about the process? That the final result we have is when we catch some fish. Some people take it to cook; others just release the fish and fishing is only a sport for them. But we know the final result is to have a fish. And you probably know that it takes several hours or even a whole day or night to catch something. And you just sit, wait for it, and probably you will catch something. Where is the joy in that process? But the thing is that the process of fishing is a really pleasant one.
First of all, you connect with nature which surrounds you. You can see sunrise or sunset; you can hear birds around you. You’re staying on the beach of a river or a lake. Also, you think all the time what lure or attraction you should use. Because fish’s behaviour in different places is different, and you should find the best approach. That’s why you play all the time with different tactics. And even if you’re sitting quietly, you’re thinking about what you could change to have better success with fishing on this exact place? It is a mind game.
Also, you’re relaxing at the moment of fishing. You allow yourself not to run anywhere, not to chase some achievements. You’re alone in nature with your own thoughts, and it is similar to meditation.
Story 3: Cooking
The third example is about cooking. I’m obsessed with cooking. I know about different techniques, about different cuisines, about different chefs and I do experiment with the food, I play with it. Some dishes that I make are really good; others are just failures. But the process itself drives me. This is also some kind of a mind game when you predict or imagine the final result, and you start combining in your head different techniques, which you can use to get that final result. Then you plan a sequence of tasks; you prepare different ingredients, tools and containers. And you start that magic. Of course, you can do the same recipe all the time, but you can also change something in that! You can read different thoughts and ideas; you can watch videos, and try to implement some of those techniques and some of those ideas. And this is a true joy of exploration of new combinations of aroma, new textures, new techniques by seeing good results from those techniques; and the feeling that you become much better than before! And you don’t need recipes any more, except for cases when inspiration is needed. Of course, the final goal of cooking is really important. Because only by that result, your family or friends will give you feedback. But cooking without diving into a process is lifeless. The process itself is the place where you put your soul into.
Now, let’s summarize a little bit the idea of focusing on a process. It’s about not putting too much pressure on yourself with expectations of the result. Does it prolong your way to success? Possibly, but it makes your way to success more pleasant. When you start the process, you probably have some plan of how to reach the goal. If you have it, you know what routines should be done, and you can concentrate on the process instead of thinking about the goal all the time. Sometimes, you can synchronize with the plan and then return to the process and enjoy it. While doing something, there is only you and the process, even if other people are involved as well. It’s only up to you to decide whether you want to enjoy the process, or you just want to please someone else by delivering a result. But in both of those cases, you spent almost the same amount of time and your energy, but only while focusing on the process, you become much happier. And just think about it: how many tasks during the day you usually complete and how better your life could be after changing the approach of doing tasks.
Your task for the next week
- Step one: select three different tasks that you plan to do during the next week, or you know you will be involved in them. Better if those tasks are not bringing you any joy right now.
- The second step: analyze why you don’t like those tasks. Please, use ideas from this episode.
- The third step: using tools and techniques from this episode try to rethink your approach. What could be changed to make it more enjoyable for you? Step four: start implementing that approach.