In the ideal world, we would all love to be working from our strengths all the time. Yet, realistically we all have parts of our job that our energy suckers—those things we know we have to do but just suck the life out of us. We know we need to get it done so we can get on with doing what we love and do well. After we’ve tackled these energy suckers, we feel depleted, go home at the end of the day and just want to be left alone to veg out.
Here are 6 strategies to manage your Energy Suckers:
STOP IT. Yes, just stop doing it. Decide if this is something that really needs to be done or if this task was simply something that came with your job that no longer serves a purpose. Is it critical to your success or the goals of the organization? If you answered yes, then figure out who you would need to talk to make it happen. Make a good case!
OUTSOURCE IT. If you can’t simply stop doing it, think about who has natural talent for this this onerous (at least for you!) task. Believe it or not, someone else might be more suitable to doing it. Do a cost/benefit analysis to determine if you were to pay someone else to do this task, would it free you up to achieve your goals faster and more successfully? If the answer is yes, then go for it!
BARTER IT. If you don’t have the ability to outsource the task outright, internally or externally, then maybe you can barter it. Is there someone else you know who actually likes this kind of work and is willing to do it in exchange for doing a task that they find to be their energy sucker, and is a no brainer for you to do? If this task requires a new skill for someone else, perhaps you could barter your time in training him or her on how to do it in exchange for him or her actually doing it!
REFRAME IT. If you can’t outsource or barter it away, reframe it. Instead of focusing on the details of the task, think about the larger context and meaning of the task. A fresh look at how the task is being performed, how it is helping you achieve your goals, or honing in a higher meaning for the task, can reframe how you view it. Reframing the task may provide new energy in what you previously may have found to be a waste of time or an “energy sucker.”
LEARN IT. If you lack specific knowledge or skills that would help you accomplish the task more efficiently or effectively, take a class, ask someone to teach you, read a book or a blog, or otherwise close the gap in your knowledge. Get better at the task so it’s easier and more efficient.
OWN IT. If these other strategies can’t work for you, then just “suck it up.” Know the task needs to be done and accept the fact that you’re the one that’s going to do it. Do it, build in rewards for yourself when you’re done. Do the task early in the morning so you can get it out of the way and then schedule activities that build on your strengths for the rest of the day.