So far this week, I have been dealing with a number of “boomerang tasks” (a name I stole from The Happiness Project). These are tasks that you think you’ve removed from your plate, only to find them come back again…and even again.  I’ve never noticed these tasks as such before, until they were brought to my attention.

For example, I just moved into a new office.  Task: We requested additional keys so that my assistant would have a set.  A few days later, I received them (even though my assistant requested them, they ended up on my desk to deal with).  The set I was given from were for the storage room, not my office.  Boomerang Task:  We had to re-request keys to my office.  The keys I was given the second time appear to be the correct keys, however they don’t fit in the keyhole.  Boomerang Task:  We need to go back to Facilities to see why the key isn’t working.  So, to recap, I’ve had to deal with this key situation three times and it still isn’t resolved.  What a waste of (my) time if this is happening on even 25% of my tasks.

I have another example.  I asked our Marketing Department to send me art concepts in a pdf format.  I have the printouts, but I want the share the pdf’s with my clients.  The concepts I received were from two versions ago.  Boomerang Task:  I had to send an email requesting the correct version.  It’s afternoon and I still haven’t received the correct ones.

One last example – I’ve been interviewing contractors for a bathroom remodel.  This process began in June (I’ve actually been thinking about it for years) and 4 contractors came to my house, took measurements, listened to my vision and provided me with bids.  I chose a contractor; he came out again to refine the bid and was supposed to get back to me.  I sent him the list of fixtures to buy and the vanity I want, I gave him my tile samples to take with him and I ‘broke up’ with the other three contractors.  Well, needless to say, I haven’t heard from the guy in three weeks and he was supposed to begin demo Thanksgiving week.  I’ve called; I’ve emailed and nothing.  Boomerang!  I have to start all over with bids, obtaining samples, and checking licenses.  Boomerang back to square one.

I realize this seems petty – “just deal with it,” you are probably thinking.  But, it just seems such a waste of time.  How many times have I had to go back to the store because a part was missing from the box or something was out of stock?  How many flurries of phone tag and email tag could be avoided?  Why can’t these little projects be simple – one and done!