Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Power in Now

How many jobs on your to do list are truly today’s tasks?  And how many are yesterdays or last week’s or even last year’s jobs?  Having a pile of jobs that haven’t been done is demotivating and distracting.

Getting up to date and staying up to date is the holy grail of time management.  If you are only dealing with today’s issues, everything gets done faster.  The issue is fresh – you only have to think about it once, deal with it once, and then it’s gone.  So your to do list becomes shorter, and your mind is clear to deal with today’s issues.
But – there are some catches.  Before you rush off to do every job that’s crying out for attention ask yourself three simple questions:
  1. Does it need to be done at all?  I don’t mean leaving a problem for someone else to pick up, because that just passes work down the line, but is it a job that’s necessary?  Sorting playing cards into sequence (a real example – honestly) is a scary one, but there may be others if you look closely.
  2. Can it be automated?  Perhaps not instantly, but if the job gets done every day or every week by many people it could well be worth automating.
  3. Can it be delegated?  Empowering someone else to take responsibility for chunks of work spreads the load and increases job satisfaction all round.
If the answer is “no” to those three things, and the job will take no more than about 15 – 30 minutes, then you should go ahead and get it done.  Any job that takes less than 30 minutes doesn’t warrant being planned in and done later.  And the more you knock down, the fewer you will have to deal with tomorrow.
If it does take longer than 30 minutes, then it needs to be planned for some future time.  So jobs should only have two options – Do It Now or Plan it In.  Adding it to the ever growing pile of jobs to be done later shouldn't be an option!

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