Tuesday, August 10, 2004

How to Make Work Enjoyable

by Asim Jalis

Here are some techniques for enjoying mundane work: - Make a todo list - Estimate and time each task with a stopwatch - Do it beautifully for no reason - Solve the general problem - Look for ways to automate the work - Look for ways to improve the process - Adopt playful attitude - Alternate work with play The technique of using a stopwatch is inspired by Rico Medellin's technique of turning work into play, which was reported by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. See Google for more. Here is how it works: To pay bills I timed how long it took me to pay each bill. The first one took 6:32 minutes. With some focus I was able to bring this down to 4:25, which is my current record. In one case I had to call up Verizon to verify the amount. I stopped the watch so that the phone call didn't mess up my score. Normally I get exhausted after paying a few bills and put off the non-urgent ones until they become urgent. With the stopwatch I was craving to repeat the process again and again, to see if I could improve it. And I actually ended up doing all 11 bills in one shot.