Lets face facts…
There is a limited amount of time in the day (24 hours to be exact) and we have a limited amount of energy. Our days constantly pull us in different directions, and seemingly simple tasks add up and can quickly create chaos and confusion.
This leads to… losing track of time, missing deadlines, forgetfulness, getting less accomplished throughout the day, and of course… more stress and anxiety.
Sound familiar? – Ummmm yea!
Have you ever noticed how some people seem to accomplish so much more within the same 24 hour day?
You know the type… the person who always seems be on top of their game, alert, present in the moment, and willing to go above and beyond – we all know at least one of these annoying super humans. – Just playin’ haha 🙂
So, how do they always seem to get so much accomplished?… Is it their ability to focus for hours on end? Are they naturally energetic? Do they drink lots of coffee?
Seriously…. What is it? I want to know!!!
Kidding aside, its more likely that their “super power” is using their time more efficiently, and focusing their energy on either, things they enjoy, or high value tasks that bring them closer to their goals.
Keeping that theme in mind, allow me to introduce you to a efficiency hack (or strategy if you will) that can help you increase productivity while decreasing stress and anxiety.
Eliminate, Automate, Delegate
A while back, I read a great book titled, “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” by Tim Ferriss.
In short, the book is about designing a business around the lifestyle you desire. Essentially, the author helps walk you through the process of mapping out your goals and discovering what is most important to you.
From there, he teaches how you can architect a business around supporting that lifestyle. Its all about lifestyle design – fascinating book!
Anyway, I mention this because its how I discovered the “Eliminate, Automate, Delegate” strategy.
The strategy is pretty straight forward… Essentially, it is the process of analyzing each of your daily activities, tasks, and responsibilities, then determining how each one serves you.
By “serves you,” I mean… does it bring you closer to your goals, do you enjoy the task, is it income producing, is it the best use of your time, or could you be doing something of higher value?
Once you have a clear picture of your daily tasks and responsibilities, then you can go one-by-one through each of them and determine if the task can be eliminated (not necessary), if it can be automated (the task still gets completed but without you physically doing it), or if it can be delegated (the task gets completed by someone else).
The goal is to free up time, focus your energy on more important tasks, and reduce the stress and anxiety of being pulled in 38 different directions at one time.
Listed below are a few examples common tasks that we encounter daily. If these aren’t handled properly, they can easily becoming overwhelming and stressful; but, its NOT always the difficultly level… its the frequency that can be distracting.
- Paying the bills
- Grocery Shopping
- Walking the dog
- Going through the mail
- Washing/fueling/maintaining the car
- Getting coffee
- Mowing the lawn
So, now that we have a few tasks, lets run through the formula.
Here is a flowchart showing how to determine if you should eliminate, automate, or delegate an activity.
Using this formula, you can simply take a task you are presented with and go step-by-step through the chart.
Ready for an example? – Lets give this a try! 🙂
Paying the bills is a common task, right? – Yep, all too common!
I don’t really know anyone who absolutely loves paying the bills each month. Of course its nice to be able to pay them, but the actual act of making the payments via check or online is kind of a pain in the rear.
So, lets see if we can eliminate, automate, or delegate this chore.
Lets work through the formula starting from the top.
- Presented with task – Paying the bills
- Will I enjoy this? – No… not really LOL
- Is this income generating? – No.. it takes money out of our pocket
- Is it an obligation? – Yes, unfortunately… this one we have to do.
- Can it be automate/outsourced? – Yes! In fact, most of the time the bills can be completely automated through online banking and working directly with your vendors.
For instance, your mortgage can be placed on auto-pay, your utilities can be set up on a payment schedule (and you can set filters to monitor the payment amount), your auto loan can have a recurring payment established, and your credit card can be set up so that the statement balance or minimum payment is always made when its due.
Through the automation process, you can literally eliminate the need to manually pay many (if not all bills) each month. No more worrying about making payments, no more worrying about paying a bill late… Less stress. Less anxiety. More time.
Of course, you will still need to ensure there are sufficient funds to cover the expenses each month (sorry, can’t eliminate that one).
Do you see how automating this task might free up some time and brain power? – Definitely!
Summing it all up
The eliminate, automate, delegate strategy can be applied to almost any task, activity, or responsibility. Keep in mind, even if you cannot automate or outsource a task completely, you can likely streamline the process by time blocking the activity, or possibly creating filters or canned responses to save time.
If applied correctly, this will help you become more productive while reducing stress and anxiety. I would highly encourage you to keep an open mind and give it a try.
Who knows… It might just free up a little time – scratch that… it WILL free up a LOT of time!
Hope you find this information useful!
All the best!
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