How To Stop Doing Things You Don’t Like – Part 2

Friday, March 18th, 2011

This is the second post in a series about “How To Stop Doing Things You Don’t Like.” The first can be found here.

The less time you spend doing things that you don’t enjoy, the more time you have to pursue your passions and create a life you love.

The less time you spend doing things you “have to”, the more you can spend doing what you “want to”.

It’s pretty basic math. But it’s also basic reality that not every unpleasant task can simply be left undone. So what do you do about the important tasks that you really, really dislike?

Step 2: Figure out if someone else can do it.

Delegation. It’s the secret weapon of good managers and happy marriages.

Delegation is not about putting your responsibilities off on someone else. In most cases you can create a win-win situation by allowing someone else to do a task that you don’t like. It’s like a fundamental balancing principle of the Universe or something.

For example, you hate doing yard work. Hate it. But you’ve determined that the life you want includes a home with a well kept yard. But you still hate doing it, so you hire a local lawn service. Lawn service person? Happy to have your business. You? Happy to not being spending your Saturday mornings mowing the damn lawn. Win-win!

You don’t have to spend money to delegate.

In my house, I’ve delegated a lot of household duties I hate to Jared because he doesn’t hate them. He’s delegated jobs to me that stress him out, like listing his stuff on Craigslist and eBay or planning our trip itineraries. We don’t pay each other, but we do a little compromising and duty swapping so that each of us are spending as little time as possible doing crap we hate.

You can also delegate to your children, your friends, and other members of your community. Again, that doesn’t mean you don’t contribute or that you expect other people to shoulder all of the responsibility for your life. It just means you open yourself up to the idea of accepting help when you can get it.

Remember that there is a person for every job, a person who gets genuine joy from something that drives you nuts. Let them have their joy, and you go on and find yours.

Of course, in order to delegate you have to learn to trust that other people are just as capable as you are of getting things done.

They might not do it exactly the same way you do, but consider whether their version of done is worse than you having to do it. Try letting someone else take on your crappy task temporarily and see how everyone survives.

For many of us, delegation is something that takes practice and can be even more difficult than just deciding an old obligation is no longer necessary. Asking for help can bring up all kinds of guilt, fear, and control issues. But it’s a valuable skill to develop.

Practice delegating in baby steps and you’ll probably gain a lot more than extra time for things you love – but that’s a great motivation to get started.

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  1. Toni says:

    I am so happy to read this series today. You have totally hit the nail on the head.
    Two years ago, I finally had a realization that I was *too* busy. Committees, boards, chairpersons, soccer mom…you name it, it was on the calendar. Pair that with one of the 5 sports our son was playing and my husband’s commitments of his own – we were starting to go crazy. We had become *too* reliable. I started getting phone calls, up to five a week, asking if I would be on this committee or bake something for that committee. I had enough. Friendships were starting to fail…not only because WE were busy, but they were all JUST as busy. I remember being so upset because we couldn’t even coordinate everyone’s schedules for a simple cookout…so it never happened. That is when my mission for saying “NO” began. Yes…learning to say no is a difficult process, but once you do it a few times it becomes much easier…almost addictive. I started dwindling and finishing/fulfilling my “outside-of-the-home” commitments…it took two years. As of January 1st of this year, I now have NOTHING. When the New Year came, it was like a brick wall was lifted from my shoulders. My husband now only has 2 organizations he is dealing with, and our son is at the age where he is solely focusing on baseball. It’s like…after seven years, we can finally breath again. I’m glad you all are focusing in on your likes and dislikes too…it DOES make a difference in your life happiness level. :)

  2. Lisa says:

    I guess after reading the first comment I’ve already done this to a great extent, just by letting my life evolve. My son is grown so I don’t have soccer, guitar lessons, and school meetings. My obligations are centered around making my house function, and I only do what I have to in that regard.

    Huh, I am way more evolved than I thought I was ;)

  3. Mandi Bone says:

    Delegation is awesome.

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