Lather, Rinse, Repeat (Or the Danger of Repetitive Tasks)

Have you ever arrived in your driveway or parking spot and suddenly realized you don’t remember the drive home?  Scary, right – hopefully you weren’t one of those half dozen cars that keep going through the left turn after it’s already turned red or done something else that might have resulted in an accident.


Repetitive tasks at work can have the same sort of risk.  You can work really hard on an email regarding an important initiative and then forget to add the attachment, or autofill has picked the wrong name and you didn’t really see it because it’s the nth email that you’ve sent that day.  Or any number of other pitfalls that can happen because you are rushing and on autopilot.


Repetitive tasks, whatever that means for you, can put us into a stupor that could lead to mistakes.  And we all have enough going on without adding a do over plus having to explain what happened.


“Iteration, like friction, is likely to generate heat instead of progress.”

~George Eliot


I always think about doing the dishes.  There are piles of them and I slowly work my way through until the last one.  And then all that water made me thirsty, so I get out a glass, use it and have more dishes to do…


I can’t stop doing the dishes, or any of the other repetitive tasks that fill up the day.  I try to get a pattern going.  And I try to break up the time that I spend on the task.  If I only spend 15 or 20 minutes on it, then I can focus on the task and mull over other things that require some thought.


What do you do to keep yourself fresh when doing the same thing again and again?


© 2012 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


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Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

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