Doing the Tasks that Need to Get Done
Just like eating vegetables you don’t like to eat, you have tasks and responsibilities as a leader that you really don’t like to do either. What can you do about them besides delegating them? We all have to do things that we don’t like doing.
Leadership is not just leading your employees. It also involves solving problems, challenges, and difficulties. This means you alone have some specific tasks that really only you can do.
I bet when you accepted the job as leader you didn’t expect to work on specific tasks you really hate or dislike! Well, here you are doing the things you need to do even though you would prefer to give them away to others-but can’t. As the leader of your company, how difficult do you see the tasks you perform? Some tasks are easier than others and some not so much.
“When you come upon a difficult task…start.”
-Harbhajan Singh Yogi
Completing the Tasks on Your Plate
Completing the tasks you don’t like to do is not a new concept. Working on easy tasks requires a smaller mental commitment than if you tackled difficult tasks first. Most people believe this works best as you then have more time to spend on difficult tasks.
Successful leadership holds you accountable to the work you need to do just like with your employees. The best-performing companies have leaders instill confidence in their employees in doing the work they believe is difficult to them. Getting people to actually want to do the tasks you need them to do can be a challenge. People who have not fully committed to their tasks need the motivation to help move them forward. Many leaders need to be motivated to complete their tasks as well. This shows employees you have difficult tasks also that you have to do as well.
In order to be productive you need to accomplish things that may not be as fun as you would like, yet to get to the “fun” part of the job, the things you like to do, there are always things people don’t like to do as well. Prioritize what you have and start from there.
Procrastination or Delegating your Tasks onto Others
“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.”
Procrastinating what you don’t like or want to do actually keeps the task sitting right in front of you. Maybe the easiest thing to do is to complete the task so you don’t have to think about it and it will be done. Sometimes simple tasks get put off when you find it not to be to your liking. It may be an easy task, but if you don’t like doing it, it will be the same as trying to avoid the plague.
The work you have to do as the leader is not the same as what your employees do. In pushing off your tasks and responsibilities you are not just avoiding the task but you tell others you can’t do the job. Most likely you prefer doing things your own way because you know how to get the task done by your own standards. Every task has your own unique touch that is yours. Underneath it all, you take responsibility for the work that is considered as yours.
Break Down Your Task into Small Pieces
“A little bit of something beats a lot of nothing. Break the largest of difficult tasks into the smallest of steps and it can be done.”
Getting started is where things get difficult. We generally like to avoid tasks we hate for as long as possible. When we finally get started, we might get stuck for ages. Focus on only performing “the next step.”
Identify and take that all-important first step. Take small steps to make the task more enjoyable and always look for smart ways to optimize it.
“When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.”
“Approach difficult tasks with a positive attitude – you’ll inspire others and feel better about what’s ahead.”
Give me an example of a time when you had to motivate someone else who also dislikes doing the difficult tasks of their job.
When you love or hate a task that gets you down, that is your perception of the task. When you complete a task you like to do it tends to be because the experience is easy to complete. It gives you a sense of satisfaction. With this in mind, there are many different ways to achieve the same thing. Encourage yourself to do something you hate doing. Then change the task to make it more enjoyable. Essentially motivate yourself to complete the task by thinking of more effective and efficient ways to get the job done. After you complete your own task, give yourself a small reward.
Give It Meaning
“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.”
-Theodore Isaac Rubin
Start with a task you repel and turn it into a task you are compelled to do by asking yourself an important question: “In completing this task what does it mean in the grand scheme of what I do as a leader?” You dread doing them and then don’t which leads you to procrastination. The only problem is that the task(s) still need to get done. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to get them out of the way. Don’t create any more stress on yourself than you already created to hated these tasks.
Make the Most Out of Your Time
“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.”
– Lee Iacocca
Know that the tasks you hate are essential to your overall success. You wouldn’t do them if they weren’t. Sometimes the most boring tasks are those you repeat over and over again. How can you best complete the task(s) you dislike or hate? You can give yourself a small reward when you complete them.
“Remember that the most difficult tasks are consummated, not by a single explosive burst of energy or effort, but by the constant daily application of the best you have within you.”
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