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agile,tools & methods

Don’t avoid difficult tasks

I was late to work yesterday.

Everything was going well – I had my year old daughter, her bag, my bag, my car keys and was ready to leave I got to the door and I couldn’t find the house keys…

KeysI knew I had them in my hand a minute ago but for the life of me I could not remember where I put it. I gently put my daughter on the floor where she played with one of her toys and started searching for the missing keys – I’ve emptied my pockets, searched all the rooms top to bottom but couldn’t find the keys. Usually when I loose an item I try to retrace my steps: I remembered taking the keys, grabbing the kid, throwing the trash… Because I was a bit tired this morning I assumed that the keys might be at the bottom of my trash bag but I preferred to re-check every other location before I “dive” into my trash and try to find it. After a few more minutes of search and no keys I’ve decided to open the garbage bag and look for the keys and there they were – at the bottom of a very unpleasant pile of waste.

A header into turqouise waterThe reason I’m telling you this story is that I could have saved about 20 minutes if I would have done an unpleasant task that I knew I might need to do instead of trying to avoid it – by looking several times everywhere else possible. This is very similar to situation that we face everyday at work – we have a difficult or unpleasant task that needs to be done and we put it away or try to avoid it by doing something else. More often than not the unpleasant task will wait for us until it would be either harder or too late to do a proper job, you might even waste valuable time avoiding the task just like I did looking for my keys.

The solution is simple – if you have a task outside of your “comfort zone” do it! instead of waiting till your initial fear (or discomfort) of that task will subside jump in head first. Getting out of the comfort zone takes some getting used to but it get easier the more you do it.

After the task is done you might even notice that it was not that difficult after all.

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