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How to Know What Tasks You Shouldn’t Be Doing

taskMost busy people have long task lists. But chances are slim that you actually have the time to do everything. Scratch these types of tasks off of your list. Not because you did them but because you can handle them another way.

Tasks that exhaust you – Handling the occasional task that wears you out can’t be avoided. But if a regular task depletes your physical and mental energy every time, it’s time to delegate. Hours are too precious to waste them catatonic from dealing with a task that sucks the life out of you.

Tasks you don’t bother to delegate – Nobody does everything well but many people handle tasks because it’s easier and faster than showing someone else how to do it. Get comfortable delegating. Someone else can do it well and fast, too. Sure there may be a learning curve, but you realize long term gains by letting go.

Tasks someone else can do more economically – Never refuse a task because it’s “beneath” you. At the same time, consider what you earn in an hour – no matter whether you’re hourly, salaried or work for yourself. If you make $75 or $200 an hour, does it make sense that you gather lunch orders or mess with a printer issue? Time is better spent developing client solutions or making sales calls. A lack of support does make it more difficult to delegate. But often I see people do tasks that aren’t the best use of their time as a way to avoid complex or challenging tasks.

Or the small business owner who spends weeks building a website (for example). Hiring a professional gets it done it in a fraction of the time. Everyone in an organization has roles and responsibilities — even if you are an organization of one. Assign tasks in alignment with skills and bottom line impact. Delegate or hire people to take on what you shouldn’t be doing.

Tasks you can no longer recall why you’re doing – “I’ve just always done it,” is a statement that begs deeper consideration. Nothing should be done simply because it’s been done for a long while. Is the task necessary? If you don’t see the need for it, does anyone else? Never hurts to ask.

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