No matter how much you love your job, there will always be tasks you actively dread having to pick up.
They're the kind of tedious, boring duties that kill your creativity and take you out of your productive, forward-thinking mindset – and it's the same whether you're an entry-level worker or the CEO.
But realistically you don't have to spend time bemoaning their existence, because there is always a way to ramp up your interest in those tasks — or avoid them altogether.
This article is sponsored by the HP OfficeJet Pro Series, helping you streamline your day.
1. Protect your time
One of the biggest time sinks on a day-to-day basis can be the improper allocation of your time. There's absolutely no reason you should be spending hours upon hours on menial tasks that could very well be streamlined.
If you're the type of person who functions best when they're regimented and given strict outlines for their tasks, the Pomodoro technique, created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, might be a good solution for you. The technique is named after the tomato-shaped timer that helps you stay on track.
It entails blocking out 25-minute intervals to focus solely on one task, in order to knock it out of the way in one swift chunk. Between blocks, you give yourself a five-minute rest period to refresh mentally before diving into the following 25-minute block. If you are distracted with a task during the 25-minute session, write it down and come back to it.
Here's a rundown of how it works.
2. Automate what you can
Nowadays there are very few things that you can't enlist a machine to help with. From tracking data to logging timesheets and balancing spreadsheets, there are equations and automations for them all.
If you haven't set up your Gmail with labels and folders, it is worth spending the time automating the process. Filing emails automatically can save you hours of time each day — so, it's time to stop drowning in emails that should be going straight to the bin.
There are also AI virtual assistants, which you can talk to like a real assistant over email. You can ask them to put times on the calendar and schedule calls. There's Andrew, Amy and Julie — just to name a few.
But the list doesn't end when it comes to online organisation, as you can also automate some tasks you wouldn't expect.
Take for example, printing on demand. HP recently unveiled a new range of smart printers called the OfficeJet Pro 9000 Series, which come equipped with technology called 'smart tasks'. This is a mobile automation system that streamlines the scanning process, creates editable documents and allows you to send them from your phone to the printer. A pretty neat addition for when you are travelling and need to print a ticket on the go.
By using technology to service some key areas of organisation, you can free up your time to be able to function more effectively in other areas.
3. Eat your frogs
Mark Twain was apparently quoted as saying that, "eat a live frog thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." Despite the fact, this quote hasn't ever been officially attributed to him, but it is used widely to speak about not procrastinating on tasks you need to do.
When you first get into work, chances are that you're at your most motivated and ready to hit the ground running before your drive dwindles throughout the afternoon. By doing the most tedious tasks first (faster and easier than usual with the aid of your OfficeJet Pro 9000 Series), you're effectively setting up the day to improve from the get-go, and it gives you the peace of mind knowing that you don't have them looming over you.
Beyond that, it's also an effective way of ensuring you don't keep putting them off until the end of the day when timing doesn't work and you're stuck racing to get everything completed — which is a recipe for mistakes.
4. Streamline your day
Organisation is critical when it comes to streamlining your day — from outlining your tasks in the morning through to ticking the last item off your to-do list in the afternoon, it's important to stay on track.
Preparing early can set you up more readily for a productive day than any amount of motivation or dedication.
At the beginning of your week, outline all your tasks and deadlines in a diary or an organisation tool, like a Trello board, so that you know what's ahead.
There's a certain rush of endorphins that comes from ruling out tasks you've completed, so you'll get that burst of satisfaction as you cross the boring tasks straight off.
You can also streamline and start your day before you even get into work, by using the HP Smart printer software to print off any necessary documents during your commute — they'll be printed and ready by the time you arrive.
5. Find the right sound
Sometimes the easiest way to churn out a bulky load of tedious content, whether it's general administration or otherwise, is to frame your environment so it's the right sound and space for you to get the work done.
This depends entirely on your own method of focus — if you're the type of person who requires absolute silence in order to focus, you may want to wear some noise-cancelling headphones for an allotted amount of the day in order to knock it all out of the way at once.
Conversely, if you require noise of some description then you have a world of options for distraction. You'll want to search for a productivity playlist on Spotify, try orchestral music to not disrupt your flow with vocals or play a backing track that supplements your work instead of detracting from it.
You may also consider binaural beats, which is a type of sound wave therapy that combines two sound frequencies to create the illusion of a singular frequency tone, and is alleged to improve cognitive performance and reduce stress.
And I don't know about you, but when performing run-of-the-mill tasks, anything that reduces stress is a bonus.