Ask HN: How do you avoid spending disproportionate time on unpleasant tasks?

7 points by lkdjjdjjjdskjd 5 months ago

I tend to get stuck and procrastinate on unpleasant tasks (administrative stuff, or challenging stuff that I am not well prepared for). That in turn inflates the amount of time I have to deal with unpleasant tasks. Often little time is left for the pleasant tasks. Even though I am aware of it, I haven't found a good way to mitigate the issue. Ideas?

rocannon 5 months ago

If there is anything at all that you can do to automate parts of the unpleasant tasks that I have to do, I try to do that. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of thought to figure out a way to automate something, and sometimes it's staring you in the face. Anything you can do to shave off time from these tasks is probably worth the effort.

Another thing to do is to delegate them if possible. As an example, some people really dislike keeping their houses clean, so they'll hire someone to do that. Obviously, YMMV, and it may be that you cannot afford to delegate a task, or there's some other problem (e.g. you cannot offload work onto another freelancer due to an NDA, etc.).

thiago_fm 5 months ago

Work on those tasks as soon as you arrive at work and if something pops up in the afternoon, try to negotiate to have it done next morning otherwise you will easily lose control of your time.

I'm a lead dev and have been doing it for a while. Also, whenever I schedule 1-on-1s and so on, I do it straight after the daily meeting. Only grooming and Product related meetings can take up the afternoon.

This makes my day always be boring and busy at the beginning, but I get some whole afternoons to do coding and things that matter to me.

Having control of your time means saying no and negotiating, making people aware that your time is precious is the most valuable thing you can do for your career. The more people think that your time is precious, the more money you will make.

jacquesm 5 months ago

Do them immediately when I first realize I need to do them.

anhnhoktvn 5 months ago

Try to understand it or find a way to automate it.