Three kinds of work
There are three kinds of work in any organization. There’s the primary work of the organization. There are projects and initiatives that help the organization make progress. And there are the things I call laundry.
Laundry is what a client of mine called the routine work that has to be done. It includes tasks like answering routine email, filing, routine recordkeeping, and things like that.
Laundry is not as important as your primary work or your project work. You can let it go for a day or so to attend to more important work. Laundry doesn’t have a deadline. But, just like with real laundry, your life gets a lot harder if you let the laundry go too long.
It’s hard to do big important things when those little things are in disarray. You can head off that crisis by making sure that your routine work gets done routinely. That way you don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about it or planning it.
Decide what laundry needs to be done
Make a Recurring Chores List of things that should be done every day, every week, or every month. Decide if they all really need to be done at all. Eliminate the ones you can and schedule the rest.
Don’t load laundry coordination on your overloaded brain
Your brain already has a lot to think about. Here are some tools that will help you get the laundry done with a minimum impact on your precious mental energy.
Use checklists. Pilots use them. Surgeons use them. Ben Franklin used them. You can use them, too.
Use reminders. Your smartphone and computer offer all kinds of reminder systems you can use to let you know when something needs to be done.
Use routine processes. If you do things the same way every time it takes a lot less mental energy.
Try to take care of your laundry every day.
It’s far easier to keep up than it is to catch up. Here are some ways to get the laundry done.
You can work the laundry into your daily routine. Work hard on significant work for an hour or so. Then take a break and do a little laundry.
Outsource the laundry. You don’t need a deep knowledge base to do laundry. But if you have someone else do your laundry, make sure they understand your standards.
Split your To Do List
Every day, split your To Do List into two parts. One part is for the important make money or move-ahead work. The other is for your laundry.
Boss’s Bottom Line
No one ever was successful because they were great at getting the laundry done. But lots of people have been unsuccessful because they couldn’t.