More of what matters

This week, due to “life”, I’ve only been in a position to do a couple of hours’ work each day.

I’d like to report that I spent those couple of hours focusing on big-picture projects that kept everything surging forward. But no: I had no choice but to dedicate the little time I had to the essential tasks that prevented everything from falling apart – like making payments, replying to critical emails, and having a call with my bookkeeper. Effectively, the business has been in maintenance mode.

So annoyingly, most of the tasks I did this week were tasks I didn’t want to be doing. And really, tasks I shouldn’t be doing – because I’m no good at them, and far better at doing other things.

To sort this out, I’ve started an exercise I read about elsewhere to help identify the tasks that only you should be doing. All it involves is listing out at the end of each day every task you’ve performed. Next to that task, assign a priority from 1 to 5.

A priority 1 item is one that only you should be doing – because it’s where you add the most value. This could be leading team training sessions, recording webinars, pitching for new business, or whatever your unique ability is.

A priority 2 item is one that can be assigned to a current team member. Priority 3 can be assigned to a future team member, when you have enough tasks that cluster around a certain job role. Priority 4 items are those that can be automated, and priority 5 items shouldn’t be done at all.

This exercise is helpful because it makes you constantly assess your built-in assumption (if you’re a big-head like me) that you’re the only person who can do a particular thing. In just a week, I’ve identified countless tasks that I can already hand off – and many more I should be able to get off my plate in the next year as the business grows.

At first, some of those tasks seem like they only take a couple of minutes and training someone else to do them will take ten times longer. But – as I discovered this week – all those little two-minute tasks really add up.