Welcome Back! If you are just getting started, I suggest you go back and review the previous posts in the series here.
Make a “Not To Do” List
A couple days ago I talked about keeping a schedule, and part of that discussion focused on how I integrate my to do list into my schedule.
I get a lot of benefit from having my to do list, it helps keep me on track and makes sure things do not slip through the cracks.
As much as I am a fan of to do lists, today I want to talk about something else that is just as important.
A “Not To Do” list.
We all have way too many demands on our time, and we need to decide what things we either do not like doing, or things we find are not contributing to our overall productivity.
One way to come up with a list such as this is to find out what your time is worth. The way you do this is to look at what you make in a year, and divide that number by 2000. I say 2000 because the number of work hours in a year is 2080, and I am allowing two weeks vacation.
Some people figure it differently, but for our sake this is what we will use. Here is an example:
So in the example we figure our time is worth $25/hr. Given that, if we can pay to have something done at less than $25/hr, it would make sense to outsource that task.
Before you start, I understand that every hour we are not doing something else does not translate into extra money. If this will strain your finances, I would not recommend outsourcing things you cannot afford to outsource.
However, this gives you a bit of a benchmark when deciding what not to do. For example, I hate mowing the yard. Really more than anything else. Because of this, I pay someone to mow my yard. Do I actually make more money during that time that I am not mowing the yard? No, not most of the time. However, it is worth spending that money so I do not have to do it.
Conversely, that is time I can spend doing things I do enjoy such as spending time with my family.
The point is to take a look at the things that are demanding your time, and decide which ones you really are getting benefit or pleasure out of doing, and get rid of the things you can.
We all have the same amount of time no matter how rich or successful we are, so we need to maximize the effectiveness of the hours that we are given.
Today I want you to set aside some time and really look at what you do on a daily basis. Take these things and categorize them into must do’s, like to do’s, and do not like to do’s.
Once you have them categorized, see if there are any in the last category that you can delegate, pay someone to take off of your hands, or that you can just delete from your life. One big one that a lot of people can delete is senseless phone calls.
Take notice of your phone calls for the next week, and notice how much time is spent with idle chit chat such as:
How are you? (wait for long winded response)
What are you doing this weekend? (another long winded response)
Of course there are some of these conversations you want to have, but I am sure there are many that could be cut short by simply saying at the outset, “I am pretty busy, what can I do for you?”
You will be surprised after performing this exercise how much of your time you can regain just by creating your “not to do” list!