The following sample tasks can be done more efficiently with some coding and could help you think of a goal of your own:
- Spreadsheet consolidation: You have 15 team members who submit timesheets to you using spreadsheets, and you create a consolidated weekly report by manually cutting and pasting entries from each spreadsheet.
- Content updates: You cut and paste the latest press stories every week into a content management system to update the company’s website.
- Data retrieval: You work for a financial services company, and monitor acquisitions and sales made by ten private equity firms. Every day you visit each firm’s website to look for updates.
- Quality assurance: You test updates made to the company’s website by clicking the same set of links to make sure they work as expected.
- Prototyping designs: You create website designs, but it’s difficult to explain to clients the user experience and interactions through static illustrations.
- Visit the first firm’s website, and download the list of companies on the acquisitions page.
- Permanently store the list. If the acquisition list has previously been retrieved, compare the list downloaded today with yesterday’s version, and note any additions or deletions.
- Display the additions or deletions.
- Repeat Steps 1–3 for the next firm, until all the firm websites have been visited.
- Repeat Steps 1–4 daily.
Don’t worry about choosing a task that seems too simple. Fixing an issue on a live site currently in use is always more complex than it initially appears. However, try to choose a work-related task so you can ask for help from coworkers.