I consider myself to be a fairly organized person. I keep a calendar and detailed to-do lists. You probably do this as well. Inevitably, there are tasks on my to-do list that never seem to get done. They are pushed back “just one more day,” or re-scheduled, or “forgotten” – even though they are right there on the list next to the other tasks. They are the crappy things. The tasks that I should do, but I really don’t want to do. The phone calls or conversations that I’m nervous about. The tasks that I’ve been avoiding for a month, but still need to be addressed.
When you have more than one of these tasks on your list, it is time to schedule a “Crappy Stuff Day.” Here is how:
- Pick a day in the next week when you have some open time or control over your schedule. That will be your Crappy Stuff Day. Mark it on your calendar now.
- Schedule your day – there is a technique to this. Start by planning a fun lunch break. It can be short, but ideally it is away from the location of your crappy tasks (for many people, that is outside the office). Ask a funny friend to join you, so that your conversation will be about something other than work.
- Next, take a look at your to-do list. Which task is the most painful? Which one would benefit you the most if you could just get it done? Schedule that task for first thing in the morning on Crappy Stuff Day. Yes, it will suck. But this way it will be done as fast as possible, and studies have shown that we have more will power in the morning.
- Then, giving yourself ample time to finish each crappy task, and still keeping your lunch date, fill-in the rest of your schedule for the day. If you need to, work a little late. Crappy Stuff Day will suck, but you want to get as much done as possible so that it doesn’t turn into Crappy Stuff Week.
- Check your schedule for the day after Crappy Stuff Day. If possible, schedule something you like to do for first thing the next morning. Remind yourself why you like your work.
Now that you have Crappy Stuff Day scheduled, try not to think about it. Focus on all the other tasks on your to-do list. The night before Crappy Stuff Day, take a few minutes to prepare, but don’t over analyze it. The goal is to get it all done, feel relieved, and move on! When it is over, you can (and should) congratulate yourself on your self-discipline and productivity.
Another benefit of Crappy Stuff Day? Donuts. You absolutely deserve a breakfast treat and fancy coffee on Crappy Stuff Day. Also, once it is over, wine and/or steak.
What is your technique for getting crappy stuff done? Please share @RachelLColello or in the comments below!