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Ask whether tasks are really necessary

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in Admins,Office Management

When you're plugging away at a task, do you ever stop to ask: “If I didn’t do this at all, would anyone notice?”

It’s a valid question, and one that efficiency-seeking admins occasionally ask. After all, you’re the only one who knows exactly how long it takes to, say, generate a monthly or weekly report.

If it takes several hours each week to create the report, but the recipient only glances at it monthly, your time isn’t being spent on the highest-value, highest-priority work.

When you suspect a mismatch between the time spent on something and its value to others, raise the issue. Start by saying:

“I generate this report for you, and I’m happy to continue producing it. But I want to make sure that it’s still useful for you.” Then ask:

• Do you use it?

• How frequently?

• Is it valuable?

• Is there anything extraneous in it?

• Could it be trimmed down?

• Do you still need it weekly?

You may end up with a trimmed-down version of the same report, or a less frequent report, or none at all. In any case, you’ll know that your time is well spent.

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