Monday, October 29th, 2012
The only way you will be able to find a job that you love is if you use your present job to level up your career.
If you think your job is boring then you probably aren’t giving 100%. When you aren’t giving your full effort then you aren’t improving your career.
You are caught on the career hamster wheel.
The only way to get off this wheel is to find a way to change your attitude.
I speak from experience. I gave up on working hard at my first job outside of college. I avoided work and justified it because my boss was a jerk.
This was one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made with my career. My direct supervisor loved me. Offered me opportunities that I wish I would have taken. I didn’t because I thought this job was a waste of my time and I was going to be a famous poet like Charles Bukowski. I still write poetry, but it’s not my lifelong dream. I found my passion through helping people such as yourself build great careers and businesses.
As I’ve changed jobs and figured out how to marry my superpowers with the outside world’s needs and desire to pay for my hard work, I’ve looked back at my career and the mistakes I’ve made. I can still be a poet, but I can’t get back all the wasted hours trying to avoid work.
It wasn’t until I began to do more active relaxation and became a watcher of my thoughts that I began to truly see this negative behavior as a detriment to my career. Once I understood I was doing more harm than good I began to work on my attitude.
I found a super simple way to improve my motivation.
You have to find a mental switch that’s going to get you excited about your job so you can put in the effort to grow your career.
I have the perfect solution for you.
Do you like to play games?
Let’s look at one of the all-time greatest games, Super Mario Brothers. Mario is an average looking character with a little gut and a mustache. His only goal is to save the princess. He is so focused on this goal that he’ll smash his head into bricks and fling himself off buildings.
If you’ve ever played this game you can easily see how addicting it is. Let’s look at the psychology behind why.
People like playing Super Mario Brothers because:
- They are rewarded often. (stars, new levels, etc.)
- They are challenged, but never scared.
- They compete against their own skills and try to improve each time they play.
- They have a clear goal.
- They get into a zone and forget about everything around them.
You can apply these same constructs to your career and on a smaller scale your daily tasks.
Let’s look at dealing with your email inbox after a long weekend. Let’s say you have 100 new emails. You know it’s going to take the bulk of your first day back to get through all of them. Instead of opening your favorite website, avoiding your work, let’s look at how you can turn tackling your email into a game.
3 Ways to Turn Your Email Inbox into a Game:
1. The Time Game
One of the most popular game techniques is to guess how long you think it will take you to get through your email inbox. If you think it will take 3 hours. Then set a timer for 3 hours and see how fast you can get through each email.
This simple game keeps you focused and creates a competition with yourself.
If you want to take this time system a step farther you can set-up some rules that will encourage you to finish even faster. You could set a rule… for every 10 minutes that you finish earlier than you thought, you reward yourself. Maybe you get to work on a project that really gets you excited or maybe you would like to reward yourself with dark chocolate. So if you finish in 2.5 hours then you either have a half hour of fun work or maybe 3 squares of dark chocolate.
The fun is in the challenge that you create for yourself. If you can slowly improve on your time with a weekly or daily task you’ll be more productive, getting your tedious tasks done quicker which will allow you to focus on other work that you enjoy more.
2. The Reward Game
We talked about a reward in the previous example, but some people don’t like to put a time limit on themselves because it stresses them out. So if you finish going through your email inbox you can reward yourself with a special lunch or buying yourself a small gift like a book you’ve been wanting.
The reward gaming technique works very much like the Super Mario Brothers game. The game rewards you after each level. You feel motivated and want to keep playing.
When you see progress and reward yourself appropriately, you are training yourself to appreciate your hard work. You are developing a habit that will encourage focus, higher productivity and impress the people you work with by improving your results.
3. The Character Game
You may be motivated by using your imagination to create the right mindset. There are times you may look at your inbox and feel unmotivated because you can hear that negative voice beat you up because you aren’t very fast at scanning out the junk emails and focusing on the important ones.
Before you even start your task you are setting yourself up for failure.
You need to set a positive and energetic mindset. I like to think of myself as someone so smart that they could filter through the emails, respond back quickly and finish this task early. I pretend to be Bill Gates. His email skills are easily in the top 1%, probably in the top .01%. To get into character I slump my shoulders, adjust my imaginary glasses and dive in.
Look at who you think could do your email inbox in half the time you could. Imagine yourself as this person and watch how it changes how you view the task. You’ll probably shave off at least 25% from you end time.
The character game can be used for any task. It’s a fun way to add an extra layer of creativity to what you are doing. When you increase how much creativity you put into a task you are using different parts of your brain, increasing your level of engagement and having more fun in the process.
Tip of the Iceberg
This is just the tip of the iceberg when using games as a way to turn a boring job into an exciting career. The important takeaway is being playful with how you turn a task into a game. Remember to create a game that fits your personality.
How have you ever turned a task into a game?