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13 Jun

Be selective when discarding

Datum: 2024-06-13 09:00
A person is meticulously arranging green peas into neat rows on a white surface.

When you have too much to do and time is scarce, you need to get rid of tasks and/​or find ways to do your tasks quicker.

For you who pre­fer lis­ten­ing to read­ing, this post is also avail­able as an episode of the Done!” pod­cast:

Let’s get rid of some, but which?

The eas­i­est and most read­i­ly avail­able way is prob­a­bly to get rid of tasks so that you have more time and few­er things to do in the time you have. Your time should pri­mar­i­ly be spent on the most impor­tant tasks, those which will con­tribute to you reach­ing your goals.

And with that, I am assum­ing that you have set goals for what is most impor­tant in and for your busi­ness (because how else can we know if we have suc­ceed­ed or not, if we do not deter­mine goals?). 

Seem­ing­ly hopeless

Hav­ing a rea­son­able and sus­tain­able work­load is some­thing I help peo­ple attain. When work­ing on this com­mon prob­lem, I and my client use the refine­ment tool that I write about in my book on struc­ture. It helps us iden­ti­fy the tasks that clear­ly do not con­tribute to the goals, but which we have spent our days doing up until now, and which there­fore are the tasks we are going to get rid of first (by not doing them any­more, out­sourc­ing them exter­nal­ly or del­e­gate with­in the company).

Right here is a trap to beware of which lots of peo­ple fall into. What are they doing wrong? Well, when they go through what they do each day to sep­a­rate the tares (those things that clear­ly do not con­tribute to the goals) from the wheat (those which def­i­nite­ly con­tribute), they describe what they are doing in sweep­ing terms. They might, for exam­ple, think:

Tasks con­cern­ing staff — these def­i­nite­ly con­tribute, since with­out the staff we are not even a com­pa­ny. Sales — these con­tribute too. And admin­is­tra­tion is some­thing that clear­ly belongs on my to-do-list. So no, there is noth­ing I can cut down on. It’s hopeless.”

The solu­tion is in the details

This is where you should try being more spe­cif­ic and picky, on the brink of finicky, when dis­card­ing or del­e­gat­ing tasks. Con­crete verbs are what con­sumes time dur­ing your work­day. What you do all day are things like call, email, write, sketch, search, sum­mon, com­pile, report, attest, and so on.

There are a bunch of detailed tasks hid­den in the more gen­er­al­ized areas of sales”, admin­is­tra­tion” and human rela­tions”, dis­guised as con­crete verbs. It is not nec­es­sar­i­ly so that all of the tasks you do regard­ing human rela­tions” con­tribute to the goals. The tasks which are not direct­ly con­tribut­ing, are the ones you need to get rid of first.

Do this

If you have got too much to do and want to get a more rea­son­able work­load, do one of these two things today:

  • take a moment to reflect on what you have got to do this week that does not con­tribute to the goals you have right now, or,

  • log and record every­thing you do this week as detailed as pos­si­ble, and go through the list on Fri­day and look for tasks that have not con­tributed to the attain­ment of your goals.

When it comes to the tasks you iden­ti­fy, try to get rid of at least one of them by stop doing it imme­di­ate­ly, hire some­one to do it exter­nal­ly or del­e­gate it to some­one with­in your company.

If it is not pos­si­ble to get rid of the tasks imme­di­ate­ly, at least take the first step. You can, for exam­ple, remind your boss that you are work­ing on tasks that are not help­ing you reach the busi­ness’ goals.

More effec­tive right away

If you are spe­cif­ic and detailed when look­ing for tasks to get rid of, it will be eas­i­er to find what you are look­ing for. Your mis­sion to opti­mize will be more effi­cient and effec­tive, and you will not have to suf­fer from the heavy bur­den and despair of hav­ing an over­whelm­ing workload.

What’s your way?

What is your best method for ensur­ing you have enough time to do what you need to get done when the hours are run­ning low? Email me and share.

(Also, it’s essen­tial to pri­or­i­tize whole­heart­ed­ly!)

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