BEFORE you start your work in the morning, it is important that you analyze each task to make sure it is the right task to work on first. So we created this Task Analysis Infographic to help you determine the best way to deal with each task.
Before I DO any work, I first apply these 4 tests to the task – Dump, Automate, Delegate, Defer. Here is how they work:
- Dump: Does this task even have to be done, or can I dump it?
- Automate: Could this task be automated by me or by an automation expert?
- Delegate: Could this task be done by someone else instead?
- Defer: Does this task need to be done today or can it be scheduled for later?
It is ONLY after I go through this analysis all for of these tasks, that I actually “Do” any of these tasks.
Let’s look at each of these in task analysis factors in more detail:
Step 1: Dump #
Dump means just what you think it does. Can you dump the task? Ask yourself questions like:
- Is this task connected to my desired outcomes?
- If I didn’t do the task, would anyone notice? What would be the consequences?
We often have “legacy” tasks. Tasks that have always been done this way, and may have been relevant in the past but may no longer be useful. Dump these.
Step 2: Automate #
If you can’t dump a task, consider whether you can automate it.
When you have boring, mind-dulling, detail work, this might be an indication that a creative human doesn’t have to be the one to do it.
Computers and software have come a long way and many tasks can be automated. Here are some ways to look at automating your work:
- Software & Macros – Look at the features of your software and see if there any way to automate what you are doing in the software. If you don’t find what you want, send a support ticket to the software developers and post questions in the software forums. I find software users in forums to be immensely helpful.
- Voice – Look at what can be done with voice commands instead of typing. I dophone texting, adding to my grocery list and even writing articles by voice. Voice recognition has come a long way and correcting the odd error is much faster than typing everything from scratch.
- Zapier – Zapier is an amazing tool that connects many different online tools together. You can have your LinkedIn connections automatically added to your CRM, connect your task management system with your calendar and much more.
- Programming Solutions – Just because you can’t find simple solutions, doesn’t mean a task can’t be automated. A good programmer can create a custom solution that can solve your automation problem.
Let computers do what they do best – you do the rest!
Step 3: Delegate #
By now, you should have gotten rid of a lot of your tasks. Now we are only left with tasks that we can’t dump or automate.
The next consideration is whether this task can only be done by you or whether it can be done by other people. This is especially important if simpler tasks are keeping you from critical tasks only you can do.
If you have office staff, consider having them take over some of your simpler day to day tasks. You can also Hire a Virtual Assistant or a specialized person like a graphic designer or writer to take over some of your tasks.
At this point, all the tasks you have left have to be done by you. But do they have to be done now? If it isn’t a critical task or can wait, you should defer it by scheduling for a later date it in your task management program.
Hopefully, this task management infographic and approach should have been able to greatly reduce your tasks using this. Now, you would just work on the rest of your tasks in priority sequence.
Click on the task analysis infographic to make it full size and print it off and keep it on your desk as a reminder to analyze your tasks BEFORE you work on them.
Remember YOU are the expert on your job. Even if your manager did the same job before, it was likely years ago and work changes quickly. It is up to you to take the initiative to analyze your tasks and prune them to make your day more productive.
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– Garland Coulson “Captain Time”