Life-Changing Strategies to Streamline Anything
Episode #2 of the course Streamline your life to have more time for what matters by Liz Huber
Today, you will learn how to apply the Analyze > Eliminate > Optimize > Automate > Outsource process to almost anything.
The first step to taking back your time is understanding how you are spending it! To do that, track your habits in a journal or a time-tracking tool like Toggl:
• Which tasks are you doing regularly?
• How long do they take?
• Can and should they be streamlined?
Generally, as soon as an activity becomes recurring, it is worth streamlining. Furthermore, you might want to look at time-consuming and tedious tasks that give you no joy, purpose, or income.
However, what you choose to streamline is entirely up to you!
After identifying the activities you want to streamline, break them down to their bare minimum by removing anything that is not absolutely essential. This requires a shift from doing the most possible to the least necessary!
Here are two elimination strategies that work every time:
• Apply Pareto’s Law, which states that 20% of inputs create 80% of outputs. What are the 20% of tasks with the highest impact? Focus on the important few and eliminate the rest!
• Make “NO” your default response to commitments. When faced with a task, replace the question, “How can I do this?” with, “Can I say ‘NO’ to this?” Always question if something is really necessary!
Take what is left after elimination, and find the most efficient way to perform the task. But focus on the workflow itself instead of skipping right ahead to more advanced strategies; outsourcing or automating unoptimized processes will only make them less efficient!
Here is how you can optimize the workflow of your tasks:
• Batching: Group together similar tasks and do them all at once (e.g., paying your bills once a week). This approach saves time and mental effort by benefiting from economies of scale.
• Make it a habit: Assign daily or weekly time slots for your tasks. Over time, the activity becomes routine for your brain, and you’ll perform it on autopilot—just like brushing your teeth!
• Use an external brain: Dump all your to-dos in a task management tool like todoist or your calendar. Then, set them as recurring and create reminders. This will free up mental space so you can focus on the task at hand instead of thinking about what to do and when to do it.
• Give yourself a time limit: According to Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Giving yourself a time limit forces you to work most efficiently!
At the very core of automating your daily life is the question: How can I use technology to get things done?
Here are powerful strategies for automating your life:
• Use tools like IFTTT to perform simple automated tasks with apps and sites you use. For example: Automatically publish Facebook posts on Linkedin and Twitter as well.
• Use services like Amazon Subscribe & Save for automatically re-stocking household and personal care items based on your desired schedule.
The last step for streamlining your life is delegating anything that cannot be automated.
Outsourcing can be quite a challenge because most of us are not in the mindset for it. We want to take ownership of everything and think that only we can perform a certain task.
But in fact, the “do-everything” mindset is limiting our success and happiness. When we put our ego aside, we can achieve peak output and optimal workflow for everyone involved!
Outsourcing simply means using money to buy time. Use these questions to determine whether outsourcing makes sense for you:
• How much is an hour of your time worth?
• Which tasks can you outsource for less than that?
Take Action Today: Write down three ideas how you can use the five-step process in your life!
Tomorrow, we’ll have a look at streamlining your household chores.
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