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Structuring techniques to focus on impact yielding task

 

Wouldn’t it be great to have time on your hands to do the things that you like?

I didn’t think it was possible until I tested Tim Ferris’s theory in his book – The 4-Hour Work Week and things learnt from Rory Vaden`s ted talk.

It is possible, but it doesn’t mean everyone can achieve it at the same result.

The idea is to manage your to-dos, move your passion and hobbies up the priority list, and you’ll be living the life of your dreams.

Example:

I quit my 9 – 5 job and is now working 4 – 6 hours a day with 3 times the pay, giving me time to build connections and hobbies (started up kendo and vocal lessons) all in less than 6 months.

I highly recommend you to get  The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris if you are keen to learn all these things.

 

But here is the short version:

 

You just need to change the way you approach the many things coming your way on the daily basis.

Things you do comes with a cost, time spent on attending a meeting that could be summarized in a 15 minute memo cost you your precious time and maybe more importantly, your energy for other attention heavy tasks throughout the day.

Firstly you need to understand,

 

“Time management does not exist”

 

You cannot move your time around, the things you move are your “to-dos”

Thus, the game has changed from time based scenarios to task based.

The major differences are:

Time: I am going to spend 8 hours to work today.
Task: I am going to finish this section of the project today.

Time: I’m going to spend two hours learning kendo.
Task: I’m going to make sure my hands are at the right position when doing I am doing the Hayashiburi.
(a kendo technique where you swing your sword forward and back very fast)

 

How to set up my to dos?

Image via Glenn Carstens-Peters

Start with backwards planning from your vision of yourself, move back till you reach the specific task that you wanted to do, then add on the things you need to do for that one particular month.

I tried a few different self management tools but I personally recommend Trello as it just makes the whole process so easy and streamlined.

You can use the desktop version, but there is also an app available for both Android and iOS devices that you can download to access your to-dos.

[ Trello: https://trello.com]

For privacy reasons, I can’t really share how my board looks like, but the flow is as follows:

Books to read > vision > long- term plan > 3 months goal (insert end date) > potential things to do > interesting things i’ve found > things to ask myself > delayed > to do > doing > done(insert month) > delegated > Cancelled > Meeting agendas > [pass done stuff]

It’s saved me more time than the trouble of building it, if you are a messy, forgetful and generally all over the place person like me, it’s going to be the best pleasure that you will ever get!

The shorter and easier kick-off package would be

vision > long term plan > 3 months goal > todo > doing > done

I’d also suggest you to add in the “ things to ask myself”  just because it is awfully useful to keep you in check.

Some useful questions are:

  1. If I could only work 2 hours a week on my business, what would I be doing for the rest of the 22 hours?
  2. How can I turn opportunities into leads?
  3. Which of these task, if done, will make the rest unnecessary / easier?

 

“What if there are too many things that I need to do?”

 

 Here is a step-by-step guide on how I usually cope with an overwhelming number of tasks:

  1. If you haven’t list them down as mentioned above, do it, you wouldn’t know how to optimize your task if you don’t know what they are.
  2. Ask yourself,
    “ which of these, if done, would make the rest unnecessary / easier?”

“The first and most critical practice is to ask what needs to be done (not “What do I want to do?”). The answer will contain more than one urgent / critical task. However effective execs will focus on one or a maximum of two tasks, no more. Thus after asking what needs to be done, sets the priorities and sticks to them. Examples of priority tasks are redefining the company’s mission, developing next level of leaders, getting rid of unprofitable businesses and etc. Ideally after completing the original top-priority task, the executive resets priorities to create a new priority rather than automatically moving to the number two task on the original priority list.”

We want to look for the 20% of tasks that produce 80% of the results, and what I always find useful is to have your vision / end goal beside you, and focus on that of the highest impact.

Other things I consider:
I) Significance

  • How much does this task matter within the 3 years of working on it, and whether or not if it is a core project or is it just a side hustle?

II) Urgency

  • Does this task comes with a deadline?

 

By now you should have a list of things that you should focus on,

Those are the gold nuggets of tasks, it will deliver you the highest returning yields,

These are what you will be focusing the majority of your time and energy on.

But what about the rest?

Try to remove them from the equation by delegating or automating the tasks with your team.

 

Things I ask myself:
– How can I throw money at the problem?

– What have been annoying me recently?

The idea itself is weird, i know, but by doing this exercise, you are testing possibilities which can explore to minimize distractions in your life.

And it doesn’t have to be money, it can also be time.

The idea is to find repetitive tasks that if you invest your resources in, it would eliminate future actions as show in the example below.

Example:

  1. Buying household items in chunks so you don’t need to worry about them for the next of the quarter.
  2. Building a self management system that makes life 10x easier.
  3. Constructing a set meal for each day so you don’t need to ponder on where to eat.
  4. Hiring an admin to help sort your information for 10 ringgit an hour (used 200+- a month but it saved me effectively 2 hours a week and mental torture from all the grinding work.

 

These techniques in general would help you reclaim control and improve your daily lives and at the same time provides you that focus needed to solve the important matters in time. Jarone approves!