We’ve You’ve all done work that you didn’t like. I remember working as an IT Budget Coordinator and having to input full-time employee (FTE) data from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and sometimes even into the early evening. Somewhere around 10 p.m., a report would run to see if my numbers “balanced.” When they didn’t, I had to re-review the information, step-by-step, to find the mistake. Of course, this process required a couple hours of laborious and boring work.
Regardless of your job, there are parts of it that are no fun. If you are leader of a company, there is social-after-social in which you have to put your best foot forward, get a smile on your face, and glad-hand as many people as possible. If you are an IT manager, you are required to review scores of reports each week to determine if your security program is vulnerable. If you are a waitress at the hamburger shop, you have to worry about the occasional rude customer. No one is immune to work that is far from fun.
Strategy #1: Do the “no-fun” work first thing.
If you can, do the boring and tedious work early in the morning. Instead of reading your email or going on a coffee break with your co-workers, sit down and do the work. As a professor, one repetitive activity that is part of my day is grading assignments. The work is redundant and time consuming. However, by committing a couple hours early in the morning, I get the monkey off my back. Once the work is done, I feel great, and then I can do the activities that are more fun.
Strategy #2: Create an “Accomplishment List” you can share with your manager.
Nearly every manager I know understands the importance of routine and operational work. However, it’s your job to let your director know that you are on top of all activities assigned to you. In essence, you must have a plan to communicate these accomplishments.
When working for my last company, I developed a weekly “Accomplishment List.” In this list, I created categories for the work I was assigned. My manager and I discussed the expectations at the beginning of the year, and I included those requirements in the MS Excel sheet.
Here are some of the categories:
- Reviewed budget reports
- Contacted departmental managers to discuss the run rate
- Updated the MS Excel worksheet with new workstations
- Prepared the PowerPoint for the weekly presentation to the CIO
Before our weekly status meeting, I updated the Accomplishment List, and emailed to my manager. During the meeting I referenced the list, knowing that my manager was aware of the day-to-day work I completed. At the end of the year, the compiled worksheets were beneficial during my performance appraisal.
Strategy #3: Delegate!
A good rule of time management is to learn your hourly rate. For example, if you are paid $25 per hour, it’s imperative that you focus only on work that generates that level of money. The rest of the work needs to be delegated to others. An insurance salesperson, for example, should hire administrative personnel to manage client accounts, such as confirming meetings, creating files, and calling the customer for missing materials.
The ability to delegate routine work is a game-changer, but many people find it hard to have others do this work. For some, it’s difficult to give up control, and others cannot seem to find the time to train others to do the work. To become competitive in your market, you must trust others to do the everyday work.
Doing the mundane tasks is important, so make sure they get done. Until you can delegate this work, make the most of it. You can leverage completing these activities by creating the Accomplishment List. Your goal, however, is to find someone who can do it for you. You, on the other hand, should focus on the high-value activities that generate the highest return for you and your organization.