When it comes to doing work I love, I’m all about it. I will blog until 2 a.m. and not even realize it. But when it’s time to tackle mild to moderately annoying tasks, I’ll put them off for as long as possible, then be completely frazzled as I try to get them all done at the last second. The kinds of tasks I’m talking about include:
- Going to the DMV
- Going to the dentist
- Calling my doctor to get a prescription refilled so I don’t get migraines (kind of important)
- Getting an oil change
- Closing a bank account since I opened a new one with a different bank
It’s stuff that’s necessary but not exactly rewarding, so you don’t feel inclined to take time out of your day to do it. Instead, if you’re like me, you let these items pile up on your “To Do” list until you can’t stand it for one more second.
My mom, on the other hand, is one of the most efficient people I know. She’s a very task-oriented person, so my “Eh, I’ll deal with it tomorrow” approach drives her insane. When she visited me in Charlotte recently, she offered me some simple but highly useful advice to help me stop being such a grand supreme procrastinator. She explained that when she has annoying tasks that have to get done, she either takes a day and checks them all off her list OR she does one per day until they’re done.
So let’s say you have to get an oil change, go to the DMV to get a new license, and go to the dentist. Three tasks that won’t take a ton of time, but still require you to block out a portion of your day to do them. My old approach would be to put off all of these items, hoping that eventually they magically handle themselves. Then I end up with cavities/an expired license/ a car that doesn’t work. No bueno. Instead, my mom would suggest hitting the DMV on Monday, going to the dentist on Tuesday because that’s when they can fit me in, and then on Wednesday getting an oil change. Or I could take a personal day, do it all on Tuesday, and never have to think about any of it again.
When you approach these annoying but necessary evils in a carefully planned way, you can pick a calmer week at work during which you’ll do these tasks. When you’re cramming them in at the last minute, you may have no choice but to fit them in when you also have a major presentation or deadline to worry about. It’s a much more relaxed (and mature) way to approach a “To Do” list, right? Moms always know best.