Maximize your ability to do high-impact work that moves the needle for your company.
(This exercise is adapted from Austin Netzley’s From 6 to 7 Figures.)
As a leader, 80% of your time should be spent on only a few key high-impact activities. Yet, often we find ourselves doing tons of unnecessary work, or work that can be done by someone else or by software. Therefore, we must…
Ready to free up your time and energy? Block off 30 minutes for this exercise.
Step 1: Task audit
In the chart, list out every task you’ve worked on in the past 30 days, even if it only took a few minutes.
Make sure to be specific and detailed—“creating social media content,” rather than “social media”.
Go through your calendar, Slack messages, email, etc. and find everything you can. As you do, estimate or calculate the amount of time each task took to complete.
Step 2: Tier ranking
In the Tier column, categorize each task into tiers based on…
- Administrative: Email, social media posting, simple tech, customer support
- Technician: Doing “the work,” low-level project management, tech or website tasks, basic content creation
- Manager: Team management, employee optimization, running meetings, legal, sales
- Executive: Strategy, leading big initiatives, hiring key roles, building partnerships
Don’t overthink it, just make your best guess for which tier each task fits best.
Step 3: Energy audit
In the Energy column, indicate how you feel during/after completing each task. Does it give you energy (↑ Up), drain you (↓ Down), or leave you feeling Neutral?
Step 4: Take action!
Go through your list and ask yourself:
- What can I get rid of completely without negatively impacting the business?
- What on this list just isn’t essential?
Now, in the Resulting Action column…
Cut these items out completely. Often we find that 20-40% of a person’s list can be cut out completely! At the least, try to cut out at least 10%.
Of the remaining items, ask yourself:
- Which items (that I don’t enjoy doing) can be done by someone else without sacrificing significant quality or accuracy?
Delegate the ones you don’t enjoy, or aren’t your strength. This should take care of a good portion of your list, since many of the things we do can be done by others—given the proper processes and support.
Finally, go through the remaining tasks and determine which ones can be automated (or, at least, systemized before delegating).
Systemize these—plan to create or improve a system for each.
Congratulations! You now know which tasks are yours to own moving forward. These should represent roughly 20% of your time, leaving you free to think—which is a severely underrated part of our work.
In the Owner of Task column, put the team member’s name—or “need to hire.”
Systemize and/or delegate everything ASAP, hopefully freeing up 10 to 25 hours (or more) per week! This order works well:
- Start with items to cut (X)
- Then the biggest energy sappers (↓)
- Then the admin stuff (Tier 1)
- Then everything else
Plan do to this once per month—you’ll always find more tasks to offload as you raise the value of your time.