The Wonders of an Administrative Accomplishment Day

January 30, 2024

In running and building a business or writing platform you love there is an abundance of stuff to do. Your cup can quite overfloweth with tasks. The same is true in loads of situations—corporate, running a household, etc. 

Some of the tasks on my list are big and really important, like outlining my rebrand.

Some are small and also important, like getting back to Isabella on a potential speaking gig.

Some are small and not that important, like finding an additional color for my brand palette.

And in the personal life that we all have, there’s an ongoing list of stuff to do. Here's a sampling of mine:

  • Cancel a free trial before it turns into a paid membership.
  • Call about the expensive tolls you may or may not have incurred while driving through/around Dallas on your cross-country trek. They tend to look unfavorably upon those who don’t pay such things.
  • Remember to order your nephew’s birthday present.
  • Acquire the book for Entrepreneur's Book Club.
  • Check on the rebate you were supposed to receive from buying new tires last fall.

What doesn't work

My former approach to all of these was what I like to call "the scattershot approach."

I’d schedule the reminders and tasks for a future day, whichever one felt good. Then, when that day would arrive, I'd leave the reminder on my phone notifications for a couple days until I got sick of seeing it and either moved it or did it. 

With business tasks, it was similar but different.

It has been easy in my entrepreneurial journey to spend my time “clearing out” small tasks so that I could get to the bigger, deeper work I needed to—and did indeed want to—get to. A person can spend a long time clearing small stuff out of the way.

And while it feels momentarily good, it's discouraging to know that your big work isn't getting the time and attention it warrants.

For this reason and for a time, I stopped doing these small tasks while I focused almost exclusively on my top priority of writing Dear Fellow Dreamer. But that also didn’t feel very good to know that there were small and medium things piling up, receiving no attention.

To make the progress you want to make, both the big and the little, the priority and the very-low-priority need attention.

And that brings me to today’s tip:

Give yourself a designated and recurring time to catch up on your "admin" items.

Stephen R Covey might refer to this practice as "sharpening the saw."

Doing it on a dedicated day or window further capitalizes on the principle of “batching.” Putting "like with like" in this case is scheduling and then completing similar types of tasks in one window of time.

This keeps you from interrupting deep focus work with piddly little to-dos that keep you busy but never moving forward.

Here’s what this is looking like for me:

I’m making Fridays fabulous again, with making it an Admin Day. 

When you work for yourself, it’s easy to structure each day the same. And so Fridays feel like a Tuesday which feels like a Wednesday. When you’re not living for the weekend, Friday wasn’t the celebratory, day it was during my corporate time.

But no more! Friday is becoming a new favorite day. And not because it ushers the weekend. But because it’s the day I let myself get to the stuff I’ve wanted to get to but knew would derail my focus work.

It’s almost a celebration of all the big stuff I moved forward during the week. [Dear Fellow Dreamer update: my word count is at 43,000 words. Half of those might even be good enough to keep. For comparison, Dear Fellow Spender came in around 33,000 words.]

On a business front, I let myself do things like the following:

  • Dig into website changes that I’ve wanted to get to
  • Look at email and website trends
  • Clean up my desktop and download folders
  • Go through all the zillion notes I’ve scribbled or typed down through the week to organize them
  • Review my Trello To-Do Board (task list) to see what actually can just be deleted

And I’m trying to batch my personal stuff as well. I have started putting as many of my personal administrative things on Friday afternoons as I can.

This keeps me from getting a reminder on a random Tuesday at 2:00PM to call about tolls and another on Thursday morning at 10:00AM to get Spencer’s birthday present.

When I review what’s upcoming or create future reminders to cancel AppleTV’s free trial in 3 months, it’s just as easy to put it on the Friday afternoon before it renews as it is the Tuesday before.

Note: This is not to say I exclusively write Monday-Thursday and never do personal or business admin things on days that are not Friday. It's a very helpful guideline not a rigid rule. I do plenty of admin things that need doing throughout the week, but usually in the afternoons after I've wrestled with my book for several hours in the mornings.

Here are two huge benefits I'm finding: 

  1. I am incentivized to focus on making headway on my big thing, since I know I get to "reward myself" on Fridays with the things that require less grappling.
  2. I have no guilt like I used to feel while working on those administrative tasks, since I was also feeling like I should be working on my big thing. The way I'm scheduling my weeks now has me prioritizing my big thing in the main part of the week.

To make my Admin Fridays even more fabulous, I might even go hog wild and start bringing donuts into the office on Fridays for the World’s Greatest Boss (me) and the Employee of the Month (also me).

How could this be helpful for you? Let me know!

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