Time Management Tip: Do your Worst Stuff First!

Tackle the BIG jobs first

Tackle the BIG jobs first

Q: What is the absolute worst thing that you ever have to do?

A: In my case, two issues are struggling for supremacy. The first is catching a rat, which lives under our deck. The second is reading the instruction manual that comes with a new car.

Worst Job: At the back of the house, we have a decking area. The house is south facing, so it gets a lot of sunshine.  Over the past couple of weeks, a local rat (I’m assuming that he is a local) has taken up residence under the decking. With all the warmth in there this summer, he probably thinks it’s a penthouse in Marbella. Linda has laid down the law. It’s either me or him; one of us has to go. That’s the worst job I have on the agenda at the moment.

2nd Worst Job: My last car was getting old. I bought it a couple of years back and had racked up a good few miles, scrapes and bumps (always, other people’s fault, of course). So, it was time to check out a younger model. The new car has more computing technology than Apollo 13 and came with a 485-page manual. That manual was sitting on my desk for weeks. I had to read it – because every time I wanted to turn left I put on the wipers and the Sat-Nav kept trying to bring me to an obscure town in the Arctic Circle.  I’m sure it’s idyllic – but Norway is such a long drive during the working week. So, it had to be done. Plough through the manual with the 7-point font.  It took just over a week.  Now I know how to open the boot and have broken off my relationship with the annoying voice that kept telling me to “turn back” as I was heading for home (Clontarf is broadly in the direction of Norway anyway – what was her problem?)

Just do It: For some people, procrastination is an art form. They keep having the same conversation, over and over again. They play the ‘what if’ game, with more twists than a Harry Potter novel. This endless churning of possibilities is a form of self-torture. If you have something to do that’s uninteresting or downright unpleasant – then get it done. Now.  Not tomorrow or next week. Now. Tough tasks take the same amount of time done immediately – and you save all the angst.  In the days when Tony Ryan ran GPA there was a huge sign hanging over the boardroom table. It read. Do it now!  Not a bad motto for your managerial life.

That’s it. Sorted. That f*****g rat has to go!

Paul Mooney

PS Lighter Note: An old farmer had a large pond in the back; nicely laid out with picnic tables, barbecue pit, horseshoe courts, along with some apple and peach trees. The pond was properly shaped and fixed up for swimming.

One evening, the old guy decided to go down to the pond and look it over. He hadn’t been there for a while. He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing. When he came closer, he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny-dipping. As he approached, he made the women aware of his presence. At once, they all went to the deep end. One of the women shouted to him, “We’re not coming out until you leave.” The old man frowned: “I didn’t come down here to watch you young ladies swim naked, or to make you get out of the pond.” Holding up the bucket, he said, “I’m here to feed the alligator.”

Check our website http://www.tandemconsulting.ie or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organisation development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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5 Responses to Time Management Tip: Do your Worst Stuff First!

  1. I always suggest making your difficult phone calls first – good strategy for a salesperson. You have more energy and haven’t been demoralised at the start of the day.

  2. sean dowling says:

    How come its your job to get rid of the rat ?! Seems to me ye both use the deck . Gender bias rears its ugly head again . Tell her in the interest of equality between the sexes you will allow her first stab at it . See you in the divorce courts !!!!

    • There are some areas where gender bias is grand. Killing rats and cleaning blocked toilets are my speciality! On the other hand, I do zero cooking. Logical split of tasks. You don’t want someone who has just unblocked the toilet to give you a ‘full Irish’!

      Thanks Sean. You are always funny


      Paul Mooney PhD. Managing Partner Tandem Consulting P: 01 8330897 M: 087 2439019 Latest Blog… https://tandemconsulting.wordpress.com/

  3. Nicola says:

    It reminds me of that Mark Twain saying which about eating a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day…..
    However, I’m not suggesting you eat the rat……

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