Why You Need to Shrink your To-Do List Now

Help I realized they were asking the wrong question. As I wrapped up my speaker presentation last week at the Music City Code event in Nashville, I fielded questions on managing multiple to-do lists. I provided several tips the attendees could immediately use. That evening, it hit me.  I needed to reframe the question. It’s not how to MANAGE the to-do lists, it’s how to REDUCE the to-do lists.

Clearly, people had a lot going on at work and/or in their businesses.  Some people were juggling multiple projects and initiatives, and it was obviously overwhelming and exhausting.  Many people even created a to-do list per project.  One of the concepts I taught at the event was the Rule of One – one calendar, one computer device, one planner, and one to-do list.  Anytime you break the Rule of One, you lose efficiency and productivity.  The challenge happens when your ‘one’ list gets so big that it feels impossible to manage.

The solution is to shrink the list so you only focus on the HABU items – those items that are the Highest And Best Use (HABU) of your time and talents.  Otherwise, you end up busy, but not productive.  You look back on your day and wonder why you didn’t get more done. Many times you realize you wasted effort on things that didn’t matter or add value.

I wrote a post earlier this summer on how to delegate tasks when you don’t have your own team or employees.  You can read it HERE.  The key takeaway of that post is to offload tasks to other people more suited for the work so you free up time for your HABU activities.

One way to HABU is to compute your hourly wage, then delegate anything that can be done for less than that amount.  For example, if you earn $100,000 per year, your hourly rate is about $50/hour.  That means you should not be doing activities which can be done more economically (filing, sorting through emails, booking travel, cleaning your house, mowing your yard, picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping, etc.) by someone else.

To start, I recommend you hire your own virtual assistant.  Great sites like Fiverr and HireMyMom have well qualified people who would love to do some tasks at a very reasonable rate.  I have found qualified help for $5-20 per hour – far less than many people earn as an employee or business owner.  Concerned about spending the money?  How much is it costing you in time and relationships NOT to have the help?  Is it impacting your health, quality of life, and time with your family?  You will quickly realize that delegating adds, not distracts, from your success.  I know that you will love having more ease in your day when you delegate activities less than your hourly rate.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant may seem like an unusual idea to employees and business owners, but it absolutely works to gain back control of your day.  Any time you work on activities below your hourly wage, it’s taking time away from the HABU items on your to-do list that only you can do.  It also makes your work day longer since it pulls attention and time from the more important priorities.   Not sure how to work with a virtual assistant?  Just send me an email.  I’ll share how to quickly and easily set up systems that you can set and forgot so you and your assistant work seamlessly together.

Won’t it be exciting when you can wrap up your work day at a reasonable hour and enjoy more free time?  I know that when you start delegating and begin doing the highest and best use activities with your time, you will have more abundance in every area of your life.

I show people how to consistently get more done in less time so you have more time to do the things you enjoy.  It’s all about setting up systems and structure with the proper tools.  Download my list of 100 Proven Systems You Need to Boost Results.  This list will give you great ideas for what to systemize in your job and company (ex: sales, marketing, money, people, and operations.)  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

In my programs, I break down the exact actions you need to take, the exact knowledge and skills you must possess, and the exact tools for leveraging all of your resources – your time, your money, and other people so you can focus on the highest and best use of YOUR time.  Gain back control of your life with system and structure today.  .

Please leave a comment on how hiring an assistant helped you.

Nancy Gaines

Nancy Gaines is CEO/Founder of Gain Advantages Inc. and has been advising small businesses and Fortune 100 companies how to increase revenues through proven systems for almost two decades. She is a best-selling author and international keynote speaker. Nancy has been named in the Top 100 Productivity Experts to follow on Twitter and has a global podcast downloaded in over 95 countries. Her main focus is creating business processes with actionable steps so her clients achieve more consistency, ease, and ultimate success.

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