It’s no secret. Today’s “to do” list for the average business leader outpaces any version in history. The devices that were intended to make our lives easier have also made them more demanding of immediate attention.
Think about it.
If you sat down today and listed every task you have…in your mind, in your email, on your calendar, in text messages, in your voicemail, on sticky notes, in your inbox, in your mail, and on the whiteboard in your office, how long would that list be?
David Allen, in his best-selling book, Getting Things Done recommends doing this exercise. Most are shocked at the amount of “to do’s” they are carrying around in their heads and in their pockets.
This is where two clear options develop: Commission and Omission.
If you are a perfectionist, you will tend to choose commission – committing yourself to do the impossible. But let’s face it, you can never complete everything on the list, no matter how efficient or deliberate you are. In fact, most of the time, the list just grows longer.
If you are prone to dislike lists in the first place, you may choose omission – getting rid of the list in lieu of doing something else entirely…like having a meeting to come up with fresh new ideas. Of course, this will only add to the clutter of to do’s.
What is the answer to this overwhelming list?
It is to use BOTH options.
First, now that you have the details, go back to the “big picture” view. Follow the advice of author Greg McKeown (Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less), and ask this one question: “What is essential?”
In business, profit is essential. In an online business, leads and income are essential.
Are there non-essentials on the list? Omit them, at least for now.
This leaves you with essentials, the items you should then commit to doing.
Now the obvious next action would be to jump in and just start working through the list…or give the list to some already-overloaded employees to accomplish.
Instead, stop and think:
What is the best process?
- Can any part of it be automated?
- Who on your team can do each part based on their specialties of strength?
With clear focus on the essentials (omitting the non-essentials) and a process (committing to the essentials), you will be amazed at how much you and your team can accomplish on things that really matter to your business.
Here’s the bottom line, and it should come as a relief to many…you don’t have to do it ALL, you just have to do THE ESSENTIALS.
For more valuable insight on ways you can grow your business, click here for your free eBook: Leading for Growth: 8 Timeless Ways to Move from Frustrated Manager to High Performing Leader.