One of the biggest mind-blocks that I had to overcome as an entrepreneur was how I needed to shift tasks away from myself. Coming from a background where it was continually told to me that hard work is valued, it was difficult letting work go and even tougher getting other people to do it. However, this is necessary, especially when you’re running a business or leading a team.
The idea behind shifting work away isn’t to slack off, but to allow yourself to focus your time and efforts on higher-value tasks, and tasks that are unique to your skillset. This allows you to focus on your growth, to work on the projects that matter, to reduce stress and increase happiness.
You can shift work away through delegation to other people, or better yet, through automation. A lot of the tasks that we do on a daily basis can be automated. Even better though, is to have tasks completely removed.
Delegate Tasks To Other People
Not everyone is an entrepreneur or a manager of a team, but everyone can still benefit from delegation. Delegation can be as simple as getting a gardener to help with your lawn, or a housekeeper to help with tidying up the house. The math works out, and it is especially apparent if you are a freelancer who charges per hour. If your hourly rate is $100, and you can get a housekeeper for $20, then it makes sense for you to just get someone to help you with the household chores, because that means you can make $80 in that hour instead.
The problem is deciding what to do with the time that you save. If you’re getting household help and then spending your new-found free time on low-value, low-happiness, low-satisfaction tasks like consuming social media, then it might not be that worthwhile for you to delegate.
Some tasks can be automated so that you don’t spend that much time on them anymore. The key is knowing how to break tasks down into smaller, easily processed chunks. Here are some examples.
My email account is something that I have to check on a daily basis. Do you find yourself manually filtering your emails that come in? Set a rule to filter them into specific folders/labels, so that emails that you frequently receive are automatically sorted for you.
That’s email, but what about physical mail? Do you find yourself receiving physical statements and bills? I remember how I’d have to photograph or scan these bills because I wanted to store them. Check to see if you can opt for electronic versions, or if your service provider has a mobile app that allows you to handle them on your mobile phone.
One more thing that I found to be very repetitive was my financial obligations. Do you have to pay bills or get paid every month? I used to dread how much time it took to write and mail off a check, or how I had to drop off checks at a bank. Check to see if automated billing methods exist. Singapore has a GIRO system and the USA has ACH. These methods automate the collection or payment of bills for you.
Think about any other repeated tasks that you face in your daily life. Chances are that you would be able to find a way to automate that task. For the more adventurous, services like Zapier.com can really help by allowing you to connect apps you use to automate tasks and save time.
I love automation, but while it is great, an even better conclusion is if you can completely remove tasks instead. A lot of the tasks that we do are a result of willingly introducing them into our lives, but sometimes it doesn’t have to be the case.
I’m going to tell you about my life and my choices, which may seem extreme to some of you. However, I hope it just shows you a different perspective and what’s possible, and maybe you can take something away from it. Figuring out these choices and then deciding to remove them have made my life that much more easy and stress-free, and it is something that I would highly recommend.
I had watches that I bought, not because I had a burning passion for watches, but because I thought that they were beautiful and looked nice on my wrist. When I got them, I was initially happy, but I soon realised that watch ownership meant that I had to concern myself with maintenance and repairs.
This was in addition to how I spent countless of hours just researching on which watch to buy, and in what colour, and with what accessories. To me, the effort and time that it took for all of this was not worth it. This was the same for other things such as cars or appliances. In the end, when I removed these items from my life, I became much happier and had much more time.
I also realised that I spent time every day thinking about what to wear. I also spent time shopping, and worrying about whether or not something would fit me or be something that I could match with my other clothes. These days, I just buy one kind of socks, one kind of pants, and one kind of t-shirt. They would all be in one particular colour too, so my worries about matching outfits were a thing in the past.
While this might be considered extreme to some, the idea and concept behind it is key. Minimising decisions and removing tasks from your life can be a very stress-relieving activity, and you can start by applying it to a smaller part of your life first. Once you become more comfortable, you can even think about extending it to more areas of your life.
Getting More Done
Having the mindset of constantly looking for ways to delegate, reduce, or automate tasks can help you significantly increase the amount of focus you can have on things that matter. Before I had this mindset, it was incredibly easy and quick to find my daily life being filled with mundane tasks, which took up mind-space and reduced my ability to work on important projects.
You can start right now by trying to identify something small in your life that can be delegated, automated, or removed. I found that this mindset to constantly optimise was something that I found applicable and helpful for not just my personal life, but also my business and career.