Ways to find meaning in even the most mundane projects

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Here's a shocker: Not every project you take will make you love your job. In fact, most projects probably don't have the power to elicit love in any capacity. Heck, some are either so demanding or (worse yet) so dull that finding the motivation to reach the finish line can sometimes be a bigger challenge than meeting impossible deadlines. The next time you find yourself in such a situation, refer to these tips to help get your sanity back on track.

Go back to Day One


You were placed on this project for a reason. What is it? Get really specific when you ask yourself this question and focus on the talents that landed you here. Have you had an opportunity to really let your skills shine in this particular role? If not, make it known that you're happy to contribute to any areas where your training and certifications can benefit the overall outcome.

Gamify your tasks


Gamification is popular because it works. There are already to-do list apps that can handle this for you, but there are so many different ways that you can get crafty with it on your own. While an app may allow you to level up once you've completed a certain task, you could take it a step further by setting real world incentives for yourself. Completing a certain number of small tasks might mean that you get to binge watch Netflix over the weekend, while bigger achievements (seeing the project through to the end and meeting all demands to the best of your ability) might equate to a greater incentive like a weekend getaway or a new gadget.

Find five things


Right here, in this moment, jot down five things that you actually like about this project. If that's too much of a stretch, go with the five things that are the least terrible. It's easy to think that something is 100 percent awful when we feel bogged down by it, but the simple truth is that nothing is all bad. Find whatever positive elements to the project you possibly can and save them to a place where you can easily see them. These can even be minor or personal details, such as enjoying working with certain team members or being able to add the project/client to your resume.

Get engaged


No, not that kind of engaged. As the Harvard Business Review points out, not every supervisor is great at engaging employees. There are several things your boss should be doing to keep you and your coworkers motivated, but if these things aren't happening, it may be time to take matters into your own hands with a well-meaning nudge. One crucial way for leaders to ensure that their team members are giving it their all is to provide regular feedback. If you haven't received any feedback, don't be afraid to ask for it. Send a quick note to your supervisor letting them know that you'd like to talk about this and provide some potential meeting times.

You don't have to let stressful or tedious projects drag you down. Take a few steps back, reassess the situation and try to approach it with a new perspective. If all else fails, consider the reality of most projects: They often have an end in sight.

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Contributor

Stacy Warden

Stacy is a contributing editor of the Pluralsight blog and has worked in publishing since the dawn of the iPhone. Currently, Stacy deals in tech and education--a combination that she finds absolutely fascinating. You can find her on Twitter @sterrsi.