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How to make data entry tasks more enjoyable

by Kayla Matthews | October 15, 2017October 15, 2017 10:00 am PST

If you spend all or most of your time doing data entry, it’s probably difficult to keep yourself motivated.

When you have to get a bunch of mindless work done, the day can drag on forever, which never leaves you feeling good about your job.

As you’ll soon see from this list of tips, making data entry a more delightful task isn’t impossible (though it may seem that way sometimes).

First and foremost though, I want to point out that if you have access to interns or junior team members who can do this low-priority work for you – use them!

Save your own time for more thought-focused work.

And juniors and interns, if you’re sifting through 10 spreadsheets of data right now, hang in there. This may not be your favorite job right now, but it’s important resume material.

In the meantime, here are six ways to make your data entry work more enjoyable.

1. Listen to Your Favorite Tunes

Several studies have found that one of the best ways to improve your performance while doing a task is to listen to music.

In one study based in an office environment, 88 percent of people achieved their highest accuracy rates, and 81 percent of people worked fastest while listening to music.

The kind of music you hear could also impact the results you get.

For example, pop music tended to boost the speed at which work got completed, classical music was good for reducing errors or improving outcomes with duties that required math skills and dance music cut down on spelling mistakes.

2. Focus on What You’ve Done — Not All That’s Left to Do

Staring at a computer screen and seeing a seemingly endless line of empty rows that you still need to fill is one of the fastest ways to put a damper on your mood and make it feel like you’ll never be done dealing with your data.

Instead, force yourself to have a different perspective and draw attention to what you’ve accomplished so far.

Perhaps you do have 350 rows left to fill, but you’ve already gotten through 300 in the last hour. Realizing that should help you get out of your slump and become more enthused.

3. Put on a Podcast in the Background

If listening to music while working isn’t your thing, think about using podcasts to create a soundtrack instead. They’re available on almost any topic ranging from feminism to songwriting. You can also use podcasts to catch up on the latest news or find some comedic material that causes you to smile.

To bring a bit of fun to your data entry work, find some true-life podcasts made by people who talk about things that have actually happened.

4. Use Tools and Equipment to Maintain a Good Work Environment

Research shows transcription and transposition errors are the most common in repetitive types of work.

There are things your employer can do to cut down on mistakes, such as making sure to staff enough workers so people on a shift don’t feel overwhelmed and pushed to work faster than they should, or requiring workers to take regular breaks.

What if you do data entry work as a freelancer? In that case, there is little to no oversight from an employer, and you could unknowingly be forcing yourself to tolerate a work environment that is not only unpleasant, but also increases your likelihood of mistakes.

In any case, it’s important to invest in equipment that keeps you as comfortable as possible while working. An ergonomic chair and a keyboard that keeps your wrists in the proper alignment as you use it are two good examples.

You might also want to buy tools that highlight errors you’d otherwise miss, or try clipboard managers that make it easier to access text you need to paste repeatedly into designated areas of a document.

Having access to things that make it more possible for you to excel will automatically make your work more enjoyable.

By using those helpers, you’ll find it easier to get into a productive rhythm and not get slowed down by fatigue or errors you overlooked.

5. Work in a New Place

One of the best things about doing data entry is you can accomplish it almost anywhere that has internet access and an outlet for your laptop’s power cord. Try spicing up your day by deciding you’ll get stuff done in an unfamiliar place.

You might see what the environment’s like in a new local coffee shop you’ve wanted to check out for the last several weeks or reserve your space in a co-working facility that lets you be around other dedicated people.

6. Challenge Yourself to Continually Improve

Maybe the reason why you’re getting bored with data entry is that you view it as a job with no room for upward mobility. However, even if you think you know everything about what it is you do, that’s not the case. Improvement is always possible and within your reach.

On a short-term basis, set mini goals and see if you can get through a certain amount of work within a specific number of minutes.

Also, adopt a long-term perspective and research ways to break bad habits or ramp up your efficiency, so you become better at data entry than you ever thought possible. When you maintain the mindset that improvement exists along a continuum, you’ll be able to add a gamification element to your work and feed your competitive streak.

Begin taking advantage of these tips today and incorporating them into your work.

Before long, don’t be surprised if you start feeling a renewed sense of vigor and purpose while dedicating yourself to data entry responsibilities.

Images by Rawpixel


Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a writer and tech blogger, talking about connected devices and smart tech on websites like MakeUseOf, VentureBeat, Motherboard and...

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