How to Schedule Repeating Tasks

As the New Year starts, I thought it might be fun to talk about how to schedule repeating tasks — specifically, what yearly things do you do, or have built in to your year (month? quarter?) so that you can help stay on top of all the various tasks that build up, whether for your personal life, career development, job search, or more?

I think it all started with the “year in review” posts I’ve been doing here at Corporette for about five years now, as well as my attempt to keep on top of family photos from the past year enough to do a family calendar (also from the past 5 or 6 years or so). But the past few weeks this “review tic” has spread and I’ve been TRYING to sort way too many things lately, hoping the task will become a yearly one.  Lately my focus seems to be on drawers, and in the past week I’ve gone through my desk drawer, my makeup drawer, my sock drawer, my filing cabinets — all for the first time in a zillion years. I’m considering doing a brain dump of everything I’d *like* to sort through, then parsing them out into a few a month… but, well, I haven’t had time to do that yet.  I actually used to have a cleaning system that kind of worked like that — each month had a different “big” cleaning task (windows, blinds, duvet cover, etc) and it was all fine when I was doing it myself but I never seem to think about it since we’ve been using professional cleaners for a few years now… I should put it back on my to do list! (When I gear up for our taxes in a month or so I’ll do my yearly financial review of all the different subscriptions we’re paying for, since I tend to forget anything on autopayment. Oh, I’m also trying to get rid of a ton of bags we’ve had building up to donate and recycle old clothes…)

I’m sure that some of you guys must have even better systems, though, so I’d love to hear what you do — what do you do “every January”? Do you have different tasks for every month of the year? Do you only do big things like that (reorganizing drawers and the like) as they bug you? (What do you delegate, and to whom?) How do you organize regular review tasks like that in a way that doesn’t get overwhelming but keeps your life running as smoothly as you’d like it to?

Picture via Stencil.

Kat has wondered how to schedule repeating tasks without overwhelming yourself -- you know, those regular tasks you do yearly (or less) that wouldn't be a problem if you did them regularly -- but Kat wants to do them all in January. So we asked the readers: what are your best systems for scheduling repeating tasks? What do you do monthly, quarterly, or yearly?


  1. Reposting because I was late to the morning thread —

    I’m new to my job. Because I have a different background than my predecessor, I’m taking on some responsibilities he didn’t do and I was told by my predecessor (and to a vague extent during my interview w/ New Boss) that my boss’ admin would take on some of the more administrative things my predecessor did. But when I talk to Boss’ admin about these things, she doesn’t seem to know anything about it and just forwards any emails she receives to me. What do I do?

    Thinking I can talk to boss and say I don’t mind taking these things on, but wondering if he wants me to given that I’m taking on XYZ things predecessor didn’t do and we had talked about me not doing everything he did. On the other hand, admin has been here forever and I don’t want to ruffle any feathers / the tasks so far aren’t that hard…

    • I would say that formality is your friend here. Put together a plan, including which tasks should be transitioned, expected timeline to complete the transition, and how you will transition them (documenting processes, coaching sessions, etc.) Review the plan with your boss and, upon approval, set up a brief meeting with you, admin, and boss to go over plan. After that, you can execute directly with the admin.

      • Thank you. I should clarify I suspect the admin does know how to do these things — she mentioned she’d do it when my predecessor is out. It seems she just doesn’t want to or isn’t aware she should be doing them regularly now.

  2. I posted last week re: a boss who offered a pay bump in return for me postponing the bar exam from February to July. I considered the Hive’s unanimous advice, calculated the pay bump (a around 4K) and informed him I would be taking the exam in February after all. He offered me a pay bump (did not discuss the amount) either way.

    This morning, I was informed by my direct supervisor that the boss was advised against making such a request. The direct supervisor essentially echoed your responses stating the boss is self-serving. He knows I am a valuable and hard-working employee and wants me (stuck) there as long as possible. The supervisor then informed me that he will be quitting in a few weeks to pursue other opportunities.

    This will be the third attorney to quit since I started here. This employer is known for looking for cheap labor and has a high turnover rate.

    I recently moved to CA and this job kind of fell into my lap. I am sticking it out till the bar and then dusting off my resume and applying elsewhere.

    Questions- Would it be a red-flag if I didn’t stick with this company for a year? What about the 2-year rule? How would you navigate a question of why you are leaving the company after such a short time there etc.?

    FWIW- I worked in a public-interest field with a lot of litigation experience in a different state for two-years and started working here a week after DH and I moved for his job.

    • Anonymous :

      Not a red flag, no one will care. Good luck with the bar!

    • I think you can explain it by saying you took the job when you moved for your DH’s job, but that it really wasn’t the best fit and so it’s time to move on.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. Future employers will understand, especially if your current employer is known for a high turnover rate.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. Plus I always feel like you get one free pass for a short-lived job. Everybody understands that not every job is a good fit and sometimes it’s just nobody’s fault.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I’m NAL but wouldn’t passing the bar be a normal occasion for looking for a new job?

    • Not a red flag at all. People move jobs a lot these days, and unless you’re someone who never seems to stick with anything I’m sure it will be fine.

  3. Also – thanks for the update! I’m so relieved for you.

  4. I always schedule my billings for the same time each week. I devote 3 hours/week to billing, and get over 27 hours worth of billings out of 3! That is b/c I divide up my billings among my top cleints, then bill all of them if I lifted even a finger (5 minutes) for any of them!

  5. I am coming very late to this thread just to say that I really like these kinds of questions. For awhile I was trying to set up recurring chores (every Monday is x, Tuesday is Y, January is z big project, February is for XYZ) but haven’t had much luck/tried very hard to stick with it. I did however just sit down with my husband, put our financial lives into YNAB, and so far, stick with it. I like your suggestions above Kat!

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