How Can You Take Joy From Joyless Tasks?

Every day, we are faced with things we don’t want to do. Washing the dishes. Shopping for groceries. Doing laundry. Preparing for a work presentation.

We do these things because they need to be done in order for the rest of our life to go smoothly. The dishes need to be washed so that there are clean dishes to eat off of later, and so that there aren’t dirty dishes in the sink. We do laundry so that we have clean clothes to wear. In order to get that raise, we prepare the presentation.

The you in the present does these things so that the you of the future will have a better life.

But the fact that we are doing things that are done due to necessity and not because you actually enjoy them means that life is filled with drudge work. These tasks don’t bring you happiness. They don’t bring you joy. But they have to be done.

How can we make these mundane, unpleasant tasks ones we actually enjoy? What makes a boring moment a pleasant one? How can we get the most out of life, and appreciate all that we do, even things that are otherwise dreary? How can you take joy from joyless tasks?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life? How can we maintain wonder? How can we appreciate life more? What are you doing to make the world a better place?

What Is Uncomfortable But Rewarding?

There are a number of things in life that we might find uncomfortable. Discomfort can be found all around us, in both our personal and professional lives.

These can range from something relatively innocuous (say, an itchy sweater) to something more serious (like an inappropriate joke at work). For the most part, we experience discomfort for a reason. Typically, it is an indication that something is wrong.

Sometimes, however, a feeling of discomfort can be prelude to an improvement of some sort. Most people like things that are stable, and events or people that upset that stability, even in the process of making an improvement, can be disruptive. Change is uncomfortable.

Over the last decade or so, disruption has even become a buzzword in the business (and tech) world. AirBNB has disrupted the hotel industry. Uber and Lyft have disrupted the taxi industry. Used in this way, the word “disruption” suggests a change introduced that may cause chaos to an established industry or service, but ultimately leads to a better product for the consumer.

What are some other examples of something that starts out being awkward or difficult, but ultimately lead to positive change or growth? What is uncomfortable but rewarding? How can we tell “positive” discomfort from the “negative”?

Related questions: When is a lie justified? When is it useful to fail? Why do we put up with unhappiness? When is doubt helpful?