Do More By Doing Less

With all the activities that can occupy your day, where do you spend your time? Are you doing what you value the most? These questions occurred one evening and I sat down with pen and paper to discover the answers for myself. The following is a simple exercise you can do to answer the questions for yourself.

Time Required: 15-60 minutes Equipment: pen and paper

First, List Your Activities

With a blank sheet of paper list, all your activities, as they come to mind.

Example: reading, email, phones calls, scheduling appointments, meetings, travel, time with family, hiking, kayaking, chores, errands, movies, surfing the internet, research, project management, marketing, presentations, and whatever. Make the list as long as you like. I wrote down the twenty most important. Though some clients have written down over a hundred.

Second, Establish a Criteria

Make a short list of the criteria an activity must meet to be valuable to you. The following is the list I created for myself.

Example: An activity must:

  1. Be enjoyable
  2. Be of value to myself or others
  3. Be educational
  4. Be a skill of mine
  5. Be healthy
  6. Be a good use of time
  7. Be rewarding (personally in life or financially in business)

Third, Score Your Activities

Look at the first item on your list of activities and give it a total score for all the criteria. If a criteria is true add one, if the criteria is not true add zero.

Example: Reading - enjoy +1, value +1, educational +1, skill +1, healthy 0, time +1, rewarding 0. the total score = 5. Email - enjoy 0, value +1, educational 0, skill +1, healthy 0, time 0, rewarding 0. the total score = 2

Repeat for each item on your list.

Fourth, Rank Your Activities

Rank the list from highest score to lowest. Order ties as you see fit.

Last, Do More By Doing Less

Circle the top five items. Now create a specific Next Physical Action for each of the top five items to begin spending more time involved in that activity.

Circle the bottom five items. Now create a specific next physical action for each of the bottom five items to delegate them to someone on your team or outsource them.

Conclusion

The desired result is to begin spending more time involved in those activities that you value the most, by eliminating those activities you value least. The more comprehensive the list, the more valuable it will be in transforming your time.

I was surprised by the activities at the bottom of my list and immediately created Next Actions to remove them from my sphere of activity. The next day I was accomplishing more that I enjoy with greater energy.

Share Your Thoughts

Do you have an exercise that you do to clear your activity space? Share your experience with this or other exercises in the comments below.