We all have repetitious tasks that may seem tedious, even boring to do, so much so that we might complete them on auto-pilot. But these are often the tasks that need to get to done to ensure the bigger projects get done.
If it helps, think about what happens to your teeth if you don’t brush them every day.
This also holds true in our relationships with others, be they personal or professional. In the relationship dynamic, we all have tedious jobs to complete in order for the relationship to work.
For a little exercise, get out a pen and piece of paper and write down at least five tedious tasks you do that enhance one of your personal relationships.
If you’ve chosen a home relationship and you live with others, your list might include grocery shopping, doing the laundry and/or the dishes, making the bed, cleaning the bathrooms, changing the toilet paper roll…
In all likelihood, your list quickly grew to more than five tasks.
Next, consider what kind of breakdown would occur if you didn’t do one of the tasks. For instance, if your list includes grocery shopping and you don’t do it, there won’t be food in the house. And if there isn’t food in the house, what would happen next?
People would be hungry?
You’d have to eat out, which might mean you wouldn’t be eating healthy food, and you might go over your budget, thus impacting your plans for an upcoming vacation?
Again, you can likely extend this pretty far and pretty quickly, including the lack of food having a negative impact on your relationships.
As I said earlier, the point here is that the little tasks getting done is what leads to the bigger projects happening. When you do the grocery shopping, for instance, you are saving toward the family’s summer vacation.
Now it’s all well and good to simply think about the little tasks that WE, ourselves, do. It’s a more challenging exercise to identify the little tasks others do and from which we derive benefit. In other words, who else in your relationship dynamic is doing the little things in a way that helps ensure your family will get to go on its summer vacation?
On your paper, try to write down five tedious tasks that are done by someone else in a personal relationship with you. You’ll likely find this to be more difficult to do than creating your list of tasks, the reason being that we tend to take for granted the tasks completed by others.
We are even more likely to take them for granted when they are done consistently, for the simple reason that we don’t notice them being done. For instance, if doing the laundry isn’t on your list, the fact that you have clean underwear in your drawer is due to the efforts of someone else.
With these things in mind, consider the word “synergy,” which, at its root, means “working together.” In practice, the word has come to mean working together WELL.
When there is food in the house and underwear in the drawers, and hundreds of other things are completed and/or available, there is synergy at play. This synergy allows for smooth functioning in the home, which stabilizes the home lives of everyone.
So think again about those little tasks you do, but do so with this awareness of synergy. You are contributing to the smooth working of your home.
Further, we all have had times in which we are functioning so well with others that we feel we are part of a whole. It is at these times that we gain glimpses of the concept that we are part of something greater than ourselves. This form of synergy awareness is warming and provides us energy.
Are you familiar with the Dr. Seuss book “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?” Many people see this book, intended for children, as a way to focus on how to feel better about their lives by comparing them to the lives of less fortunate, albeit silly, characters.
For instance, this quote comes from page 24:
And poor Mr. Potter,
He has to cross t’s
and he has to dot i’s
in and I-and-T factory
out in Van Nuys.
Yes, poor Mr. Potter.
These may seem like meaningless tasks he has to do, but if Mr. Potter doesn’t do them, an attention to detail is lost that will contribute to a significant problem down the line, just like what would happen if you didn’t do the grocery shopping or someone else didn’t doing the laundry.
As such, I encourage you to appreciate when you have to be Mr. Potter and to acknowledge when others are doing their “Mr. Potter” tasks. Extended to our places of businesses, to our cities, to our country, and to the world, it’s how everything keeps functioning.