In January 2019, TED Ideas published a new post every weekday as a part of its “How to Be a Better Human” series. One of those articles caught my eye and here is my summary of it.
Leadership Coach Rory Vaden says we could all save hours worth of time by just asking four questions about things we add to our to-do lists. He says most of us try to get better at managing time by creating to-do lists and keep adding stuff to the lists but we don’t do the homework before adding them.
Vaden shares four quick questions that one can ask themselves to multiply the time they have available. Here are the four questions:
Question 1: Can I eliminate this task?
Vaden says, “Anything that we say no to today creates more time for us tomorrow”. Most of the times when we say Yes to unnecessary duties, we are usually acting out of guilt and trying not to disappoint the other person. What we don’t think about is how this task is taking time away from us that we could productively use for something more important.
I have to confess, in my current role, I do this everyday. Being part of a small core team, I often find my colleagues getting stressed out about their deadlines and I volunteer to help them . Sometimes it is unavoidable but sometimes I regret doing that. Going forward I will try to avoid unnecessary work and make time for my self.
Question 2: If I can’t eliminate this task, can I automate it?
This is something most of us already do. Remember switching on auto-pay options for your bills?
The goal should be to bring more tasks under this category to save more time. One very simple example is auto-filtering your office emails. As a manager, I schedule a lot of meetings and the accepts/rejects keep coming in. Sometimes, I’m not even a part of these meetings but I still have to deal with these emails. One day, I decided to create a filter on these emails. I started routing these emails to Accept and Reject folders I created and tadaaa! It has been a cake walk since then. Think about what you can automate in your daily life and save some time.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post for the other two questions.