I'm thinking of something like ceremony or ritual - but without the implication of significance. More like a large collection of tasks in an everyday context like a meeting or a series of medical procedures, say prior to surgery.

I'm thinking of a word that's not necessarily formal, or that the tasks have to be rigidly adhered to in a specific order. It could just be a large number of a tasks say, a shopkeeper may have to do prior to opening a store say.

An example sentence may be say, the chairperson of a meeting saying:

Please people, we need to keep moving if we want to complete the __________ of this meeting

The closest things I can think of are

  • long drawn out procedure - (but a single word with the same meaning as this phrase)
  • protocol(s) is often used for schedules formally prescribed procedures. Feb 15, 2018 at 21:02
  • Could you add an example sentence? I think you are looking for workload, but it is hard to tell.
    – JonLarby
    Feb 15, 2018 at 21:05
  • @JonLarby Ive added an example sentence, hope thats helpful. Feb 15, 2018 at 21:10
  • 1
    In the case of a meeting, the word is agenda
    – samgak
    Feb 15, 2018 at 22:20
  • @samgak yes, I agree. ceremony, ritual, agenda are similes to the word I'm thinking of . But I'm hoping for something that could be applied in general and not tied to any specific context. Feb 15, 2018 at 22:25

8 Answers 8


Perhaps you would like rigmarole. From Cambridge Dictionaries:

a long, complicated, or silly process
You have to go through this whole rigmarole before you can register for a course.

It is also sometimes spelled rigamarole (this is closer to my own pronunciation); Merriam-Webster defines both as

2 : a complex and sometimes ritualistic procedure

While it can be used for purely necessary procedures when they are sufficiently complex, it still carries a definitely pejorative connotation and seems to most often be used for procedures that the speaker considers somehow unnecessary or ridiculous. I think it would work well for your example:

Please people, we need to keep moving if we want to complete the rig(a)marole of this meeting.

An example of a similar usage found on the world-wide web:

If you feel that the meeting has become a boring rigmarole that you have to go through each week or month, take a look at these tips for injecting energy and effectiveness into the time you spend with your team. ("Top tips for running the most effective facilities meeting possible", Catch22, Jan. 24, 2018)

  • thanks, I feel like this is the closest/best answer so far Feb 16, 2018 at 2:26
  • I like this word. I'm going to start using it!
    – psosuna
    Feb 16, 2018 at 21:02
  • Unfortunately, "rigmarole" does not fit, idiomatically, into "Please people, we need to keep moving if we want to complete the __________ of this meeting." I would suggest "formalities" oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/formality: ​[countable, usually plural] a thing that you must do as a formal or official part of a legal process, a social situation, etc.: *to go through all the formalities necessary in order to get a gun licence. / Let's skip the formalities and get down to business. /It only took a few minutes to complete the legal formalities.
    – Greybeard
    Aug 10, 2020 at 11:22

You might consider drudgery for this.

It's not an exact fit, but it has the right connotation, given its meaning:

From Oxford:

noun [mass noun]

Hard menial or dull work.

It is possible for work to be hard and/or dull due to its length and not its actual difficulty. Therefore, a meeting could be a drudgery, or the contents of it can be a drudgery, if the meeting draws out long. The word fits in your sentence as well:

Please people, we need to keep moving if we want to complete the drudgery of this meeting.

  • Please people, we need to keep moving if we want to complete the process of this meeting.
  • Please people, we need to keep moving if we want to complete the progress of this meeting.

A routine describes

A set of customary or unchanging and often mechanically performed activities or procedures: a routine of housekeeping

So your sentence would be:

Please people, we need to keep moving if we want to complete the routine of this meeting.

If it's an especially laborious process, you can describe it as a grind:

Please people, we need to keep moving if we want to complete the grind of this meeting.

  • thanks. I think routine is a good fit, but I think it would also apply to an individual process. I think the ideal word would combine routine with something that implies a longer than usual routine, or a collection of routines. Feb 15, 2018 at 23:16

Objectives. Or Details. Or both 'detailed objectives'.

'Objectives' means 'all the tasks that have been identified, that need to be done'. And it also means 'the desired results'.

This term is commonly used in business to mean 'all the many and various detailed little things that have to be done' such as filing reports, doing admin, completing procedures, designing something new etc. - it can mean literally anything 'that you are trying to do'.

And in a larger context 'the main objectives' are the bigger goals that are to be achieved - that the 'detailed objectives'- ideally - support. They are 'the object' of the goal - what one is aiming for.

'Details' is another word you could use, that means 'all the complicated little bits and pieces'. All the 'little parts of the whole ' - the whole being the 'main objective'.


The good thing about using 'objectives' in the examples you give, is that 'objectives' is a word that intrinsically focuses on 'the goal' - the 'object' - of what is to be achieved - as well as encompassing the meaning of 'all the little details that have to be done':

  • 'we want to keep moving, to achieve the objectives of this meeting'

...means 'the details' and 'the main goal' or goals.

In that way, when you use the word 'objectives' you are also telling people to 'focus on the goal' which is good, because sometimes the focus on the goal is forgotten as people get lost in 'all the little things that (might!) have to be done' - and forget about the main goal.


Example of 'objectives' in a different context - learning https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/design/learningobjectives.html


  • we want to keep moving, to complete the objectives of this meeting

  • to complete an operation, many objectives must be completed including induction, preparation, the procedure, and close. Within each category are many more detailed objectives that must be completed for each phase to be a success.

  • you need to complete these 500 or so objectives to open your store. We suggest you break the objectives into 3 sets of achievable 'objective chunks' like this...

  • The main objective is to open your store. Here's a list of 500 detailed objectives, to achieve that.

If you really want the procedure to be 'long and drawn out' then I would not use 'objectives'. I would use 'administration' or a word that focuses less on 'the actual goal' - and more on 'all the little details that have to be done.

  • thanks, for the detailed answer. I was really thinking of the one word that represents an aggregate of all the smaller details etc Feb 15, 2018 at 22:20
  • 'Objectives' does do that.
    – Jelila
    Feb 15, 2018 at 22:24
  • In a project like 'open a store' you can have thousands of them. They are all 'objectives'. Usually they are grouped into several 'main objectives' - like 'obtain premises', 'design product range', 'order products', 'design store fit out' 'fit out store' - each of which may also have hundreds of objectives within each.
    – Jelila
    Feb 15, 2018 at 22:27
  • What's it for? Why are you asking?
    – Jelila
    Feb 15, 2018 at 22:28
  • In terms of the reason I'm asking, it's simply to improve my english speaking. I wish I could give you a context, because it would make it easier for you to answer. I think its possible there may be no answer, and that such a word, at least a word that could be used in a general context, doesn't exist. Feb 15, 2018 at 22:34

Agonising procedure or process

You can say 'agonising procedure' or 'agonising process' for something long drawn out and... unbearable, or the 'agonising' can mean 'poring over the little details endlessly'.

Agonising is 'causing great physical or mental pain'. It also carries the meaning 'not being able to choose' - 'agonising' can be used alone to mean 'poring over one's choices'.



  • the agonising process of identifying the victims from all the remains continues after the air crash tragedy
  • going through the agonising process of arranging all the new products in the shop and labelling them all with the correct prices and code numbers


Note, agonising is English, agonizing is American spelling.



Unnecessary actions or words that have little meaning and make something seem more important or complicated than it really is: Unanimous consent simply means the bill passes without all the usual Senate procedural folderol. The first act of the play is full of fussy folderol; the second moves much faster and smoother. Cambridge.org


I would call those tasks functions. (Wiktionary) (Merriam-Webster)

The singular "function" being:

A relation where one thing is dependent on another for its existence, value, or significance.


Any of a group of related actions contributing to a larger action.

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