We all have tasks or items on our ‘to do’ list that we love to put off. You know which ones I am talking about. It might be taking the garbage out, knocking off that huge pile of laundry or cleaning out your closet. We put them off for many different reasons; it can be because we are not especially good at them or because we consider them dull and boring. I find that in business we experience a similar phenomenon. Sometimes we leave those “unappealing” tasks the very end – like running those monthly reports, filling in that paperwork or filing that mountain of folders on your desk.
Whether it is at home or at work, all these items have something in common: They have to be done. Sooner or later you need to get around doing and/or finishing them so that you can cross them off that list. Sometimes they take a long time to complete because once you have finally started them, something “comes up” so you, once again, put it off and deal with that important new issue. A process that is supposed to take a couple of hours drags for days, literally.
There are a couple of reasons why it is important to get all these little tasks done regularly and in a timely fashion.
- It allows you to check them off your ‘to do’ list – Even if they are small items, the fact that you have completed them will give you a (small) feeling of accomplishment. This will motivate to keep going and deal with the other “big things”.
- It will make you more productive: Sometimes having done those “unpleasant” tasks will give you more time to complete other projects and, as a result, you will increase in the quality and efficiency of your work.
What I find most useful when it comes to dealing with these “undesirables” is to schedule a “cleaning time”. Set a time aside daily, weekly, or monthly (depending on the task) and just get it done. No distractions, no procrastination, no “I will do it in a bit”. Just like a Band-Aid, swift and assertive. Put it on your schedule, just like an event or a meeting. That way, it will be easier for you to get away from whatever it is that you are doing and focus on these tasks. Now, for this to work, you have to be disciplined and make sure that you follow your own schedule.
Do you have any other ways that help you get those tasks done?