Readers of this blog know that being more successful can be easy and fun- all you have to do is follow The Rule of Thumb for Success: do more of what you like and less of what you don’t like. Today we’ll concentrate on doing less of what you don’t like using techniques you already know.
Identify Your Tasks That You Don’t Like
The first step in any en devour is to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish. During the course of your day there will be numerous tasks that will annoy you, cause you to pull out your hair or that you simply don’t like. Identify them- they are now put on notice. Pick a few items you will work on eliminating. I suggest you start with a few easy ones so you can see quick results (see layering). Once you get the hang of it go for the really annoying ones that may be harder to eliminate.
Eat the Tasks You Don’t like
Now that you know what you want to accomplish it’s time to plan how to do it. I recommend you Ate your task- By ATE I mean eliminATE, delegATE or automATE. Below I’ll explain the concepts and show you how you can use it. To better illustrate the power of these techniques I’ll give you specific examples using everyone’s least favorite task: washing dishes.
- Decide– Decide that you don’t want to do it. It could be it’s not needed or it’s not that important anymore. If you’re doing the task for someone else ask them if they still need it. If you’re too chicken to ask your boss if he still needs that monthly report, just ask him if you can enhance it or make it better in any way. Perhaps you know of a different report that will do the job better.
Lets see how to use this to do fewer dishes: Decide you don’t want to do dishes anymore and switch to plastic (at least for really mess stuff). Decide that you don’t want to bake anymore.
- Combine– Combine the task you dislike with something else you like. People often combine exercise with TV. Before they know it they’ve run another mile. Be sure that the tasks are compatible (e.g. no tv and washing dishes because your eyes cant do both at the same time) and that you don’t multi-task. You need to give each task the appropriate attention.
Do fewer dishes: Use dishes time as quality time with your partner. You are going to talk about your days (at least you should) and discuss future plans you may as well get something accomplished at the same time. He can even dry.
- Simplify– Try not to over complicate the process- that may be leading to your dislike. Try to isolate the parts you don’t like doing and find a solution for that.
Do fewer dishes: Eat out/Order in. The goal is to eat- not to cook. If you don’t cook, there are no dishes. If your issue with washing dishes is that your hands get too dry be sure to have gloves handy and that will eliminate your problems.
- Batch it– Do multiple tasks together and save setup time. It will also limit your dislike time to a small portion of the day.
Do fewer dishes: Don’t wash a dish at a time, wash them all together.
- Insource– See who within your organization (or family) you can get to do the horrid task. Offer to trade tasks or even bribe them. If you don’t have people capable train them. You may think it takes a while to train but it can pay huge dividends in the future.
Do fewer dishes: Trade tasks with your partner- you take care of the kids if she’ll wash the dishes.
- Outsource– Pay someone to do it. You can find personal assistants for virtually anything. It may be expensive but you may decide to skimp on your budget elsewhere or put in extra hours just to afford the luxury.
Do fewer dishes: Hire help.
- Automate the process– Look to computers and other technology to take care of the task for you. It may take an investment of time or effort but often can lead to huge dividends.
Do fewer dishes: Get a dishwasher.
- Habits– Set habits for yourself that will make your job easier. You can try to set habits for others to.
Do fewer dishes: Annoyed that your kids don’t bring the dishes? Have a candy dish at the sink. When dishes are deposited then they get to take an item. Replenish it quickly at first and then less in the future until it becomes second nature.
Sometimes there are tasks that you just have to do so try to make it more fun. Add music to it. Do it in a fun way (splash the water). Remember it’s not work if you want to do it.
At Seth’s Blog he calls our rule of thumb for success: Have to vs. Get to. Wouldn’t it be great if you get to do what you have to do.