As much as you love your business, you may not necessarily love every single task it takes to run it on a day-to-day basis. The good news is that the tasks you may loathe don’t have to stay that way. Whether you need to address your finances, do admin work, or juggle clients, there are several strategies you can implement to get to the other side of the wall.
“Small business owners wear so many hats,” says entrepreneur Ritika Puri, co-founder of education and storytelling company Storyhackers (and a Bluevine customer). “The exhaustion that comes from juggling all of these things is definitely the worst part of my job, and something that really got to me for years.”
Despite the pressure to get everything done perfectly and still keep everyone happy, Puri has come to love even the toughest parts of her day. She shares her hacks to turn even the most mundane tasks into things you can get through—and maybe even learn to adore.
1. Identify why a task feels like a slog.
Why, exactly, do you dislike a certain part of your business day? It’s important to know, says Puri, so you can get at the root of exactly what you don’t like and then address it. Puri creates a pros and cons list of every component of a task that she doesn’t like, then comes up with ways to help confront the cons head on.
“Things like invoicing and financing—I used to hate that stuff, and I would put it off sometimes for months,” Puri says. “But you need to manage your cash flow as a business owner to keep yourself afloat, and I’d cut it to the bone.” She figured out what she didn’t like about finance, and put in place a support system of mentors and employees to help.
Even though the process of embracing the cons didn’t happen overnight, surprisingly, finance is one of Puri’s favorite to-dos now—something she “loves.” “I’ve even gotten to a point where I can advise other businesses on how to make CFO-quality decisions,” she adds.
2. Let specialists handle the work.
Sometimes the reason you may dislike a task is because, simply, it’s not your specialty. A lack of expertise may mean you avoid the work because it takes too much time to complete, or you find it unpleasant because it’s difficult.
In this case, Puri says to outsource this kind of work to specialists. “Admin work is something I outsource entirely to a network of administrative assistants,” she says, adding that fast-moving things such as scheduling are not what her brain is built for. “Since it’s not my forté, I hire people who are more skilled in this area.”
Yes, it may add some cost to bring in specialists or administrators. But if your time is spent more efficiently and valuably working on other parts of your day to day—instead of, say, booking travel—then the benefits of turning to someone to help may outweigh the cons.
3. Create “batches” of tasks.
If there’s one task you dislike, there’s a good chance that there’s another task related to it that isn’t your favorite, either. Perhaps you don’t like doing accounts payable, but you also aren’t excited about payroll. Or maybe all of those individual emails that you respond to one at a time are driving you crazy.
One strategy Puri suggests is grouping these less-loved tasks into batches that you address at once to knock them out. By tackling piles of similar work at the same time, your brain also doesn’t have to switch gears so much, and you can be more efficient with deeper focus.
4. Change your environment.
Certain tasks may feel dreadful simply because of the way you’re trying to do them, or the place you’re trying to do them in. Puri says she likes to change her environment in order to get “deep work” done. She adds that even little tweaks—listening to music, lighting candles, or starting the work after taking a walk—can make a huge difference.
“I’ve harnessed my ability to slow down and outsmart my own mind into adding self-care into routines, and creating routines in general,” Puri says. “Now, the worst part of my job has become the best part of my job, and I feel really grateful.”
5. Don’t stall.
As you’re trying to get through the pile of to-dos you’re not looking forward to, Puri says that the most important thing to keep in mind is don’t procrastinate. Anticipatory dread is generally far worse than the actual work itself—and if you don’t take care of those things, then “your business could even run out of money.”
Once you put into place strategies to get to the other side of the work, you really may surprise yourself by your own tenacity. Plus, with the rough stuff out of the way, you’ll have time to do what you really love.
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