A Moment of Reflection: Our Least Favourite Work Tasks - [website] Email Print
Published: 22nd of Mar 2024 by: Debbie Engelbrecht

The lessons we learn from our least favourite work tasks must undoubtedly include the words "procrastination" and "habit".

It is, therefore, no surprise that when it comes to the first level of leadership, which is self-management, we need to learn to be brutally honest with ourselves and own both our strengths and our challenges.

I have always admired those who can make to-do lists, set timelines, and work 100% according to those. You know, you walk into their office and their desks are meticulous, they never seem to be rushed and they are seldom if ever late scrambling around at the last moment trying to tell the difference between their body parts.
I am not one of those people and yet, if you do ask me, I will tell you that I am relatively organized, that I generally deliver 100% on that which I promise and yes, I do it in a professional manner. Mostly.

My challenge is and always has been forcing myself to do the tasks that are not 100% aligned with the goals I have in mind for myself for that day, week, or month. The problem with the latter is that I do think of myself as a bit of a visionary and therefore the inner workings of my brain can indeed be a lot. A lot of it is creative thinking and it is the ability to create reality from fantasy that I find so pleasurable in my particular role at work. Being a small business owner does not always allow for the resources and teams of people to carry out your vision without your input. Often it is a case of simply buckling down and doing some of that processing and planning yourself.

But without exception, there has always been a time management plan that works for me. It's broad, it allows for flexibility, and most of all it asks the questions that I need to answer to keep myself focused and true. You may have heard of the Eisenhower Matrix in Time Management, and in my opinion - it is way more than a time management tool.

Apart from asking you to ruthlessly distinguish between urgent and important goals, the underlying question is urgent and important to whom? In addition, when looking at the various levels of management in a leadership pipeline, it is also keeping you true to your responsibilities in that pipeline. If for example, you are at a mid-management level in the pipeline, you may be asking yourself whether the execution of the task is indeed your responsibility or is it your responsibility to coach or delegate somebody through the task.

This brings me back to the words "procrastination" and "habit". When we thus divide our tasks according to the four quadrants of the Eisenhower Matrix, the way to deal with quadrant 1 and a tendency to procrastinate, in my experience, is to bite the head of the frog. Simply do the most unpleasant task first.

When it comes to habit, the underlying questions in the Eisenhower Matrix always bring clarity to quadrant 4 - which is the quadrant leading us to delegation.

What remains is quadrant 2 with quadrant 3 to follow - these are the goals we strive for to create long-term improvement and excellence. This is also where I personally really enjoy working.

Quadrant 3, which is essentially one of those that lead to greater teamwork and creates the need in us for excellent negotiation and collaboration skills, which is critical when working in a small business- can, in my opinion, lead to better vision, to better innovation and to better leadership potential.

And it is in times like these, when I take the time to properly analyse these theories again, especially to make a plan come together, that I get to live my best life at work...

So to my content creator who asked for this blog, thank you for creating the opportunity for reflection, making me bite the head of the frog, and for allowing my creative fun part to come to the fore.

© Debbie Engelbrecht 2024

Debbie is the MD at Staff Training, providing soft skills and leadership training for South Africans since 2000. Should you wish for Staff Training to put together an annual training package for you, please email info@stafftraining.co.za

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