What can I do today that will make future tasks unnecessary?

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Think of it like Jazz. There are a million notes you could play, but removing the notes that don’t need to be played will give the ones you do play more impact. No? Too metaphorical? Okay, try this on for size then.

When you take the time to think through your near future and what you need to accomplish, let’s say a week of work, you can identify leverage-tasks. Tasks that, if done, can make other tasks irrelevant and unnecessary. Often you’ll find that one thing done today means a few things that don’t have to be done tomorrow. 

Here are a few ways to gather your thoughts and find those leverage tasks.

  • Make to-do lists and organize by importance. Then, look for tasks that if done, would remove other tasks further down the importance ranking.
  • Not a list type? Try a quadrant approach. Visuals on a piece of paper that has been divided into 4 squares. You can just fold a piece of legal paper in ½ twice to make this easy. The top left corner is your “urgent and important” section. The top right corner is your “important, but not urgent” section. The bottom left is urgent but not important” and the bottom right is, you guessed it, not important and not urgent. You should be suspect of anything in this lower right quadrant and examine why it’s on your list at all. Maybe it’s just a “keep the lights” on task or a favor being called in. But at the very least, prune this collection as best you can and avoid a bad LOE to ROI ration. 
  • Start a journal. This can help you to get thoughts on paper and into a physical space, making it easier to organize and game plan the approaches to each task.

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