How to Work Smarter, Not Harder

It’s not about more time, but about better use of your time. AKA: Work smarter not harder.

1. To upgrade your use of time, first, identify what you do that truly creates value for your business. Note that with growth, tasks will get downgraded as your attention needs to focus on new tasks that will replace the previous high levels.

The work you do can be sorted into 4 levels:

  • Top level tasks: These tasks produce an exceptional amount of value for the time they take. They are things that you should prioritize that make the best use of your time. Examples: Generating leads; executive hiring decisions; decision meetings with key joint venture partners to secure high value, win-win strategic partnerships; making strategic decisions that set the direction for the business; holding the executive team accountable for their deliverables; designing products; creating deliverables for passive sales.
  • High level tasks: The highly focused tasks generate less value than top level tasks but still are of great value. Examples include: meeting with key clients to solidify relationships; coaching management team; reviewing company’s quarterly progress; instituting a systemic solution to a reoccurring problem; writing content.
  • Mid level tasks: tasks that are considered leveraged tasks. These tasks can provide you with a great income, but you’ll have to work exceptionally hard earn it. This is the trap that catches most high earning professionals.
    Examples include: delegating to an assistant; holding a group meeting instead of talking to several people one to one; updating master to-do list; sending emails to the executive team; also included here are tasks that are billable to clients like review contracts.
  • Low level tasks: These are the minutia that should be delegated, deleted, deferred or designed out.
    Reading emails to reroute internally; reviewing bills for discrepancies; scheduling meetings and calls; reviewing meeting notes to determine follow ups; writing replies to low level emails; copies; sorting mail, fixing computer glitches.

2. To “find” time, focus on removing those low level tasks. Delete it, delegate it, defer it or design it out.

3. Structure your week to reinvest your “saved” low level time in top and high level tasks. Try and have a push day and a focus day (or blocks). On push days, you “push” projects a step forward. On focus days, you work on the highest level, highest return, highest value part of your business. During these work blocks, turn off your email, your phone and have no distractions.

4. Prioritize your top three tasks. Each day, create a to-do list with your three priorities at the top. These three tasks should move your business forward or make you money. Do not let urgent tasks that come up override your top three.

5. Every “push day”, schedule blocks of “prime time” to work on top and high level tasks.

6. Create a “stop doing” list and add to it weekly. We all do stupid tasks that waste our time. Look at your to-do lists from the past 60 days. What can go away? Yard work? Home repairs? Bookkeeping? Every week pick a couple and add them to the list.

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