Adding Excitement to Your Work

March 7, 2021

When is work effortless?

When you’re excited to do it.

When you feel excited, you don’t need to search for motivation. You don’t need to discipline yourself. And you don’t worry whether you’re working on the right thing.

I’ve found this to be true again and again and again.

You know the feeling: the exciting project seems to take over your brain. You spend much of your day thinking about it, engaging with the nuances of the problems you’re solving. You don’t have to make yourself think about it: you just do, because it’s fun. It feels more like play than work.

Contrast that feeling of excitement with working on something that you don’t want to do (but feel that you should do). You resist the work. You wish you could be doing something else. Your mind drifts to those other, more exciting things you could be doing. Perhaps you manage to complete the work, but you do so reluctantly and you feel tired afterwards.

You can’t reasonably expect all of your work to be exciting all the time—but you canreasonably expect to make at least some of your work more exciting than it is now.

For example, I’ve recently been less excited to create YouTube videos. Coming up with video ideas, recording the videos, and editing them has started to feel like a chore. I generally felt that I should create more YouTube videos, but in the moment I never wanted to.

At the same time, I was getting more and more interested in the medium of podcasting. I’d been wanting to start a podcast for a while, but I kept putting it off until, last December, I launched my podcast on a whim. It’s been exciting to work on the podcast because I get to chat with cool people and because I can go deeper on the topics I like to discuss.

Just like my YouTube videos, my podcast episodes are marketing material for me. By focusing more on podcasting than on YouTube—at least for now—I get to do my marketing work with much less effort and much more fun.

You can do the same. I know you have work that you feel that you should do, but that you don’t really enjoy. What purpose does that work serve? How could you serve that same purpose by doing a different activity that’s more exciting?

I’m not saying you can make any work activity exciting or that you can replace all your tedious work with exciting work. But surely there is room for improvement.

Bring to mind that feeling of excitement. Think of something you already do that feels exciting. What if (some of) your work could feel like that? It’s possible. You just might have to experiment a little to make it happen.

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