Sunday Thoughts: What Tasks Could You Take Away This Week?

As I sit here and plan my week ahead, the list of tasks that I need to complete seems to get longer and longer. Week on week.

We all seem to have ever-expanding “to-do lists”!

So at times like these I think to myself: maybe I need to ask myself a better question… And I came up with this question:

What tasks could I take away this week?

Hmmmm, thinking about what I do in a typical week, I need to consider what tasks I could either: eliminate, automate or outsource/delegate?

Writing down a list of repeated tasks on a piece of paper, I add these three columns with these three titles. And start to allocate tasks between the columns where possible. Already I can see possibilities to free up time.

I recommend you try this for the week ahead. See what tasks you might be able to stop doing altogether or automate (using apps like Zapier and IFTTT) or outsource/delegate.

We can’t keep adding more. We need to explore ways to take tasks away.

10 tips for getting more stuff done

  1. Plan your day but build in contingency time for last minute emergencies (they always happen!).
  2. Open email first thing in the morning and deal with emails that can be sorted within a few minutes. Then close it, ideally until lunchtime when you can revisit. Reopen at close of play. 3 focused email processing stints. Good luck (still struggling with this myself).
  3. Close that internet browser!
  4. Get some quiet / alone time. Shut your door if you have an office or find a quiet space if you’re open plan (or go to your local coffee shop).
  5. Use autotext shortcuts where possible e.g. in a Blackberry go to ‘Options’ then ‘Autotext’ and insert commonly used email terms (e.g. ‘R’ for ‘Regards’). Saves you a ton of time when you’re on the move.
  6. Ask yourself “Am I the right person to be doing this? or “Is this the best use of my time?”. If not delegate or outsource it.
  7. Treat ‘To-do lists’ with care. Make sure you put your most important task at the top and don’t allow yourself to jump to the easier stuff until you’ve completed it. The danger of to-do lists is that we become obsessed with the thrill of crossing actions out and so end up focusing on the low value easy stuff (often without realising it).
  8. Turn off the ‘New Mail received’ chime and notifier on your email.
  9. Have stand-up meetings only. This makes everyone focus on the important stuff, keeps meetings shorter and minimises the risk of chit-chat.
  10. Get out for some fresh air or exercise. Even if its only for 30 mins. A refreshed mind is usually more focused and productive.

Any further productivity tips to add?