Simple Productivity Task Of The Day: Save Up Your Admin Work

by Randy Murray on March 26, 2012

Writers are experts at procrastination. We’ll do virtually anything to avoid writing. We call the things we do “pencil sharpening.” Pencil sharpening activities can involve desk cleaning, mail sorting, and screen cleaning, but are typically replaced today with “doing research,” another term for poking about the Internet.

As one expert procrastinator to another I can offer you some advice: if you’re going to avoid an activity with something else, at least replace it with another productive task.

For me, those productive tasks are often administrative activities.

  • Do you have to track expenses? Keep a folder of receipts and do them all in a batch when you’re avoiding some other task.
  • Process your inboxes, both physical and email. Process completely to zero.
  • Return phone calls.
  • One for writers: spend fifteen minutes reading a section of your Strunk & White. Time spent with The Elements of Style is never wasted.

When you’re not making progress or actually avoiding a task, picking another task that you are capable of making progress with, especially tasks that you can complete, will help you gain momentum. I find that I can use that momentum to get other things done, often that original task that I was avoiding.

The deadline doesn’t have to be the only thing that motivates you, that causes you to do the work. Sometimes you just need a running head start. Taking care of admin tasks is a great way to get moving.

The Simple Productivity Task Of The Day: Save Up Your Admin Work by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Shirley March 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

The zero Inbox, the myth we all strive to banish :)


Randy Murray March 29, 2012 at 9:06 am

Although rarely seen, I assure you it’s not a mythological beast! I’ve just returned from a trip and I’m striving for a siting later today . . .


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