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Why you need a new year “not to-do” list

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 | By Amanda Jesnoewski

To-do lists are great for keeping you organised and focused on your priorities. Well, that is until you have more tasks on them then you can physically get done – and for me this happens on an almost daily basis.

 

I have no doubt it happens to you too, because it doesn't matter how productive we are, we will always be limited by time.

 

If we are going to say “yes” to the things that really count, both in our business and in our life, then we must learn to say “no” to the things that don't. So this year I'm doing things a little differently. I'm introducing another to-do list – the "not to-do” list.

 

So what is a "not to-do” list you might ask? It's a list of tasks I'm intentionally giving up for the sake of my greater productivity: the time killing tasks that despite hours spent on them I get nowhere with.

 

Sounds great doesn't it? And it is!

 

But as you go about this process you might find, like I did, that one or more of the time consuming tasks on your list actually need to be done for your business to run as usual – and it's not like you can stop doing those right? These tasks call for greater evaluation and sorting.

 

When I came across potential "not to-do" tasks that were still essential to my business I sorted them under four different headings: simplify, automate, learn or outsource.

 

1. Simplify

 

Look to see if there is any way to simplify your task to make it easier and more efficient. Are there any tools or programs that would help you do it faster?

 

2. Automate

 

Next look to see if the task can be automated. Can the task be done once and scheduled? Can a general template be done so you only have to change names, dates, pricing and contact details? If it is repetitive correspondence, could an auto responder take care of it for you?

 

3. Learn

 

If it is a task you want to do but it's taking longer because you don't understand it, see if there is any training you could do. Are there any books, articles, courses or other resources that could help you?

 

4. Outsource

 

For those tasks that can't be simplified, automated or learned, consider outsourcing them to a specialist who'll have it done in a fraction of the time.

 

Your "not to-do” list will help you buy back time by limiting the amount of time you spend in areas that keep you from achieving your business goals and vision – and a must-do to ensure greater business success.

 

What do you need to stop doing?