A Technique Every Business Professional Should be Aware Of : The Not-To-Do List
Are you tired of relentlessly doing the same tasks over and over again? Do you feel as if you have been doing these same menial tasks for months? Are they getting in the way of you completing other more important tasks? The to-do-list has long been used as a useful organizational tool, but how about a not-to-do-list? It may have become habit to do all those ritual tasks you do every day but it also not very efficient. Alas, since you’ve done it for so long it may seem easier to keep doing it rather than delegate someone else to do it. In fact, a Not-to-do list can help you be just as organized as a to-do-list, if not more so.
The tasks that need to be completed will still get done but without preventing you from doing more important and pressing tasks. It is important to remember that this list should be created not because you don’t want to or don’t like to do different tasks but rather because higher priorities would get done in their stead, or because you lack the certain authority or resources to get them done.
After you’ve created the not-to-do-list you must figure out how to pass these tasks on to someone else. This can be done in one of three ways: delegating, swapping and letting go.
If you don’t have one already and can afford one, get an assistant. An assistant can be very helpful in organizing and completing those simple tasks you need to complete every day. This doesn’t mean you need an assistant to be there every day but even having someone come in three days a week. They could help you with simple tasks such as answering your phone, general inquiry emails you receive, open and sort your mail etc. Delegation is a job mainly for bosses since most people in the workplace don’t have the money nor does the office have the resources to provide every worker with an assistant. And to be brutally honest, menial tasks are often part of every workers day that they must complete themselves. However, a possibility for those non-boss types could be asking an intern or interns (if your office has them) if they wouldn’t mind occasionally doing simple tasks such as sorting your mail for you. Be careful not to abuse this option, although interns are there to help, they are not a resource for you to dump all your menial work on!
If one of your co-workers doesn’t mind answering phones but hates filing, you two could swap or take turns doing each task. If you think this is the case in your office you should suggest this to your coworker(s) that you could file for 3 days a week if they could answer your phone calls during the time you are filing. After suggesting this you should arrange with that coworker or coworkers a schedule detailing when each person is going to do each task. List the time and day each person is going to be completing a task. If you are simply swapping and not taking turns then there is no need to make a schedule, but in both cases your supervisor should be notified of your idea for change.
Some people can’t stop from doing these everyday menial tasks themselves. There are a number of reasons for that – either they think they are the only ones who can do it right, they have to do everything themselves, they don’t trust their subordinate to do it properly, or numerous other negative reasons. Also, some people just simply aren’t very good at delegating tasks to someone else. And when they do delegate a task to someone else they can’t help themselves from supervising that person’s every move, making the delegation process absolutely useless. To prevent this from happening, explain in detail to that person exactly what you want done and how you want it done. A good way to do this is to create a word document that they can always refer to in case they forgot a certain way they should do something. If they still don’t complete it in the way you want give them constructive criticism on what they need to do better.
Mike Joel has provided this brief employment guide to us at no cost. He also writes on behalf of Palliser furniture specialist Sofasandsectionals.com