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Do you suffer from Repetitive Task Resistance?

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Question: "I like my job overall, but with it come six or seven things I have to do each and every week, on the same schedule, with no variation, just grunt work. This has been going on for two years, and it's getting to the point where I almost can't face opening the same old spreadsheet even one more time. With no real chance to make these little tasks more interesting, how do I mentally push through and not totally go crazy from their tedium?" – Terry, Benefits Administrator

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Terron September 20, 2013 at 11:26 am

Ask your supervisor/boss if you can learn something new. This allows for you to be more valuable to your company, gets you learning something new and refreshing, and most importantly it shows that you are taking initiative to expand. The latter is a huge bonus with how your boss will perceive you and good things can come from that. It never hurts to ask for training in something else.


Karen September 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Try to find new ways to do those tasks. For example, if you’re clicking the same keys and/or cells in your spreadsheet, spend some time setting up a macro to automate that task. It may take some time to set it all up, but you could save quite a bit of time (and boredom) in the future. I think though, no matter what, we’ll always have a few duties that are just plain boring. If you can, try to do these things when you need some “I need a break from the chaos” time.


Chardel September 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I actually “cleaned up” one of my spreadsheets today by taking the commas out of the addresses with apartment numbers after the street names. Just a bit different to concentrate on something new. Just like changing just one step in a routine for a while-like drying your left foot first instead of the right one after your bath or shower. Wakes the brain up because it has to think, if just a little bit.


Robyn September 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I think alot of folks have this same ‘issue’ for lack of a better word. I have tasks that have to be done each day/week. And yes the day may change but my tasks don’t and in some instances can’t due to requirements for funding streams. What I have discovered is that if I vary the day I do some of them or even do them in a different order it becomes less repetitive. I’m currently working on making changes to some of the spreadsheets hoping to as jabbmabb said to ‘spice it up’ some.


Mary September 19, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I agree with both of these comments. I try to set aside enough time to finish the task in one sitting (easier said than done) so it doesn’t seem like the task goes on forever. I also look at the task for the value it has, and it gives me a job.


jabbmabb September 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm

I hear you. I was working with some dry material for a while as well, until I created an opportunity (chance) to spice things up. To add value to what I was doing (with a bit of creativity on my own), I created graphs to show the information in a different way. Those graphs are now the norm for the information (until I find another way to change things up without losing the objective). So perhaps you can stand back a bit and take another look at the spreadsheets you are working on. Add graphs? Reformat? Anything to make it a bit more interesting for you, and the net result might be that you’ve created a new way of doing things.


Claudia September 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm

I can understand the tedium that comes with some tasks and have learned I needed to re-think some of my tasks. If they weren’t important for someone to do them, I may not be here. I’ve also learned that these “tedium” tasks give me a break from the stressful tasks. They’re my mindless – don’t need to think about it – give the brain a rest – tasks. Would you believe I now have some days where I look forward to doing these tasks?


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