I am generally pretty good at getting stuff done. In fact that's my reputation. I am very productive as long as I think the project is interesting or think it will do a lot to help our company and/or customers. I'm really fortunate to get to work on that kind of stuff most of the time.

And then sometimes I get these really sucky projects or parts of projects where I believe my work is not going to produce any fruit for anyone, and where the work is a huge drag, monotonous or difficult, and having no inherent inerestingness about it. And then of course, that work drags on and on because I hate it and cannot get myself engaged enough to get really cooking on it...

What can I do to kick myself into gear when I am working on this kind of thing?

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    What is the problem you are facing? Are you not getting work done? or just not happy? Your solution is to get motivated but that is not always possible. But we may be able to help you address the specific problems you are facing. Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 20:24
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    When we close questions - should we bother to educate OP as to why this is not constructive? join the discussion here Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 3:33
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    @Dipan, yes you should. This is the worst thing about StackExchange sites. How can a question with 8 upvotes and 3 answers be not constructive? That requires some explanation, otherwise I walk away from this site scratching my head and never come back.
    – zipquincy
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 12:53
  • @zipquincy - See my comment. Just because you hit joy buttons does not mean this is a constructive question. Please edit the question to conform with the guidelines for asking a good question. Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 14:22
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    @Dipan: reading from the close description, "this question will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion" - here we have a guy who is normally pretty good at motivating himself, who has identified a situation where his normal techniques fail, and is looking for a new one... What can we offer, beyond an endless list of things to try? There's an entire industry dedicated to this topic, with psychologists and snake-oil salesmen packed to the rafters; as Chad notes, if this was ultra-specific we might be able to offer something concrete, but...
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


Think about the cash... the cash always works.

It may sound funny, but it's true. If you think about the money you are going to earn, and your job security, you'll be all good.

Of course, this may not work for everyone (i.e. people who's religion forbids them from admiring material things), but it works for me!

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    For some people, money isn't everything. They would rather work doing something they love, in a work-culture they enjoy, even if it pays less
    – Atif
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 19:37
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    @Atif I never said money was everything, and I agree with you. But you have to admit, getting paid makes everything a little better.
    – Dynamic
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 19:37
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    True, but not for everyone. I know people who got paid a lot, but still couldn't stand their job.
    – Atif
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 19:40
  • @Atif Honestly, that makes this a subjective question and should be closed...
    – Dynamic
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 19:41
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    @wildpeaks: Sometimes it's a temporary thing that happens between the good projects, so you have to stick it out until the next good thing gets started. Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 20:08

You look forward to the projects you do find exciting.

Every profession has boring/tedious/monotonous aspects. Take for example, a pro basketball player. The most exciting part for a pro basketball player is actually playing in games. Behind the scenes, they may have a lot of traveling, paperwork, attending practices, exercising and so on, that is not exciting.

So you can tell yourself, "The sooner I finish lame project X, I can start working on awesome project Y"

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    ...unless Y is also lame, and project-after-Y is unknown but possibly lame... there's only so long this trick works for. It's even worse when "Project X" is a "support & maintenance" project because those can go on indefintely, and you don't want to get stuck on one. Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 19:40
  • To make it more convincing, you might talk to your supervisor about alternating tasks you're interested with tasks you're not. That way the more interesting task is a more concrete reward, and you're not worried that finishing what you're currently working on will just lead to more boring work.
    – sheepeeh
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 19:40
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    @FrustratedWithFormsDesigner - if that's the case, you should probably be looking forward to the exciting projects at your next job once you get out of this one. But in many jobs the boring projects are only temporary, and that appears to be the OP's situation.
    – weronika
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 5:55

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