It is so easy when running a business (or office, branch, etc.) to put off doing the crappy little jobs. You know the ones: the monthly payroll report to the state revenue office; the weekly income spreadsheet update; the logging of business expenses into a spreadsheet; in short, any minor task you dread but that can BITE if it is NOT done. Here are four tips for keeping up with the niggling little tasks that you hate to do.
- Do it first thing, right when you think of it. Don’t put it off for even an hour. Just do it and be done. Then reward yourself with a walk outside, or an apple, or anything else you find pleasant and that takes very little time from your day.
- Work on it for only an hour and no more. If it isn’t finished in an hour, set it aside until tomorrow and finish it up.
- Get help: If someone could read a list of figures to you, for example, thereby speeding up the job, ask them to. If the job will be easier with three people, get two others to help you.
- Set a calendar reminder in Outlook, etc. and when it dings, stop and do the task. Right then.
When you have something that must get done and you procrastinate, by putting off the inevitable you pay a hidden price – - – WORRY. You are renting that task some space in your head! This is not healthy. It pushes other ideas out and can keep you from fully engaging with others. You won’t be able to live in the moment because deep in your mind is that little nagging reminder about the task remaining to be done. You won’t be able to fully relax because that THING is stuck in your brain.
Not getting these things done also adds to your total stress level and ANY amount of stress adversely impacts your heart. So keeping the small tasks caught up is key to staying healthy. Who knew that not paying bills on time, or failing to order key office supplies on time could tax your heart?
So in summary, do what your parents taught you: Work before play. Get the annoying little tasks done when they are due! Then you can focus your attention on getting the BIG things in your life organized and arranged – - – the family issues and the career training and education you need to schedule; get that book started that you’ve intended to write; call that old friend you haven’t seen in years. Remember, BIG ROCKS FIRST! But you cannot focus on those big rocks if an irritating piece of gravel stands in the way. Keep your mind clear and unencumbered by dealing with the crappy little tasks before they cause bigger problems!
—Mack McKinney is on a personal crusade to eliminate conflict and stress in our lives. Mack’s mantra is “People treat you like you TRAIN them to treat you!” His company Solid Thinking Corporation teaches creativity, concept development, relationship management and high-performance project leadership to major US corporations and the US government