There’s no escaping boring tasks. While we all do our best to fill our personal and professional lives with engaging activities, there are countless menial, yet critical tasks that keep our organizations running — and we only stand to benefit by finding ways to get better at doing them.

In this article, the author describes how a concept called tangential immersion can help anyone persevere in a boring task: Through a series of studies with more than 2,000 participants, she and her coauthors found that people often quit boring tasks prematurely because they don’t take up enough of their attention to keep them engaged.

As a result, pairing boring work with a secondary task that requires more attention can be an effective strategy to boost engagement and thus persistence. This has implications not only for individuals, but also more managers looking to help their teams stay on track, organizations looking to encourage healthy practices, and product designers looking to improve customer retention.