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03 Dec 2014

Stop Doing Lists

Written by RobynWoodham Category:

What is it you need to stop doing?

Time is often something we feel like there’s just not enough of.  We rush around madly trying to get things done yet there are always things left over, things that just don’t ever seem to get done. 

To change this equation, there are a couple of things we can do.  For example, we can find more efficient ways of doing things so we can do our jobs more quickly and more effectively.  This is useful, but it doesn’t take into account the fact that we are probably doing a whole bunch of things that are taking up our time unnecessarily, and that’s where you need a list that’s not a ‘to do’ list, but a ‘stop doing’ list.

Sitting down and analysing how you spend your time could show some interesting results.  How much time do you spend checking emails?  How much time do you spend troubleshooting?  How much time do you spend on Facebook?  So much of our time is spent doing tasks that are not contributing towards our happiness or success, and some of it we can do something about.  A great example of this comes from Tim Ferriss, the author of ‘The Four Hour Work Week’.  Tim was running his own company and after analyzing how he spent his time, realised that all up, he was spending several hours each week solving problems for customers that his employees were perfectly capable of solving themselves.  He therefore sent out an email to all of his employees saying that when clients called with problems they were free to make their own decisions about how to solve that problem and were to come to him only if their proposed solution was going to cost $100 or more.  Records were taken of all the decisions his employees made and after checking them, he decided the new system was working so well that he upped the amount to $150.  This simple change took only minutes to implement and meant he now had several hours each week which he could spend on other things.

This principle can apply outside of work too.  What are you doing with your time which really doesn’t need to be done at all?   What tasks are you doing for your children that they could be doing themselves?  What else are you taking responsibility for that someone else could be doing for you or helping you with?  By answering those questions and identifying what it is that is taking up your time but doesn’t need to be, you can begin the process of figuring out how to stop doing those things.  It could be that Facebook is something you don’t need to be checking on a daily basis, or it could be that your children are used to you getting them ready for school but are now old enough to be getting dressed and packing their bags themselves.  Whatever it is, even small changes can add up, and finding ways to eliminate or minimize unnecessary jobs can make a big difference to how much time you have to spend on the important things.

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