How to Set Yourself Up for Success
It's Friday at 4 pm, and you are looking back at all of your successes for the week -- increasing sales over last year, completing that big project, or landing a new account. As you do one final check of your email for any last-minute quick-fixes, you see the sticky note on your desk: Remember to ___________.
It doesn't matter what you are reminding yourself to do because it is the one task you do not like doing. Maybe it is processing payroll for next week. Perhaps it is sending out the month-end invoices. Possibly it is writing a new HR policy. Whatever the task, it is absolutely the thing you do not want to have left to do before you start your weekend.
This is where you can be your own villain or your own hero. The villain path would be to leave the task until next week, hoping no one notices it wasn't one before the weekend; but you also know that you'll think about "the thing" all weekend long. The hero path would be to sit down to quickly and accurately complete the task before the weekend, so you get to enjoy the rest you have now rightly earned. No one is going to be their own villain on purpose. So you decide to sit down to get the task done before you leave for the weekend.
Being Your Own Hero
While you always seem to get "the thing" done, you never find it an enjoyable task to complete. Here are some simple tips to help you become your own hero every time you have a job to finish...even if it is the dreaded task.
Set the Mood
Setting the mood in your office is very important for any task, especially the one you like to do the least. Make sure you have tidied up your desk area while keeping just the things you know you'll need handy. (Pro Tip: Handy doesn't have to mean on your desktop. These things can be in a drawer or a reachable nearby surface.) Also, make sure your office or workspace is visually pleasing (when possible) - dim lights, favorite art/photo nearby, blanket for cold feet, etc.
Set a Boundary
Setting a boundary can be several different things. It can be asking employees or coworkers to give you the time and space needed to complete your task quickly and accurately. Maybe the boundary is just setting a block time on your calendar, so you remember the task earlier in the week and have dedicated time to do it. The important thing is that you figure out what works for you and politely ask others to help achieve your goal. (Pro Tip: Sometimes, others' helping is by not helping. Don't be afraid to politely decline assistance or post a "silent helper" sign outside your workspace.)
The most missed step of being your own hero is education about the task or a tool you must use to complete the job. If you have special software to help you, make sure you are trained on how to use the software to the best of its ability and not just your ability. Check for software updates often as you never know when a patch or bug fix will fix your problem. Consider joining a professional organization with monthly periodicals or an online research area to help you with broader topics and tasks. While the old real estate saying is: "Location. Location. Location." the same can be said about you being your own hero: "Education. Eduction. Education." (Pro Tip: Education doesn't have to be expensive either. There are many great self-guided resources on the market. Make sure that the course teaches you what you want to learn.)
Know When to Get Reinforcement
We all want to be perfect at every single thing we do, personally and professionally. However, being our own hero sometimes means we have to know when to call in reinforcements.
When bringing in an outside firm or contractor, there are a few key questions to ask:
Do you know about_________? This could be your software or a specialized knowledge pool like human resources or automatic accounts receivable.
How many other companies do you work with? Often, the smaller a company is, the less you want them to work with hundreds of clients, as it means you may not get the attention you need. However, if larger firms don't service many clients with your needs or in your industry, it could indicate a lack of knowledgeable staff.
What professional organizations do you belong to? This question can tell you how companies large and small to invest in continuing education. It can also let you know the resources to which they have access.
What is in the trunk of your car? This one might seem a bit odd to ask, but it is a very revealing question. A messy trunk or trunk space can be a sign of a cluttered desk or a busy mind. An empty trunk could mean a lack of holding on to things or the need not to feel prepared. While the human psyche scholars can speak more in-depth to what the answer means, you can listen to what the answer is. Trust us; you'll know if you like the answer or not. (Pro Tip: Your gut knows. Listen to it. Don't overthink it.)
Whatever your long or short-term goal may be with finding outside assistance, know that you are doing the right thing for you, your department, and your company. After all, a happy you is a productive you.
Not sure what your least favorite office task is? TAKE THIS FUN QUIZ TO FIND OUT!
Feel like you need assistance with bookkeeping/accounting, payroll, tax preparation, or human resource services at your business? Contact The Springer Company today by calling (405) 753-0729 or sending us an email.
We're here to help you and your business with your least favorite task.