Do it, Delegate it, or Discard It

Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler

November 05, 2017

Lesson learned? When people say, ‘You really, really must’ do something, it means you don’t really have to. No one ever says, ‘You really, really must deliver the baby during labor.’ When it’s true, it doesn’t need to be said. – Tina Fey (Bossypants)

We really are on Tina Fey kick. We know it. But we wrote these quotes down months ago, and here lately they apply to our lives more than ever.

We’ve caught ourselves saying that we “need to…” and there comes a moment when you decide that the only thing you “need” to do is stop. Tina Fey is right, if it were true, it wouldn’t need to be said. Either you decide to just do it, or you decide that it was never a priority in the first place.

You are more productive when you’re getting rid of to-do items that aren’t worth your time. If you find yourself constantly telling others how you “need” to get something done, maybe you should reevaluate your to-do list.

This is how we take care of the things we “need” to do…

Make a List & Prioritize

Make a list of everything you say you “need” to do. Everything. No matter how long the list. No matter how small the tasks. Then, arrange your list items from most to least important. This will allow you to see all of the things that have been crowding your mind. This will also help you to see that you are worrying about things that should not take priority.

After you’ve made this list, you have three options: Do it, Delegate it, or Dump it.

See also: How to Effectively Set Goals

1. Do It

If your to-do item is important enough, this is the time to do it. Most of our to-do items are truly things that take virtually no time or energy (e.g. scheduling a dentist appointment, or sending an email). Circle everything on your list that must be done.

See also: How Email Ruins Our Conversations and How To Be Productive When You’d Rather Just Go Home

2. Delegate it

If this item has been on your list for a while, and it has to be done, consider delegating it. You clearly didn’t want to do it in the first place. Delegating can come in many forms. You can delegate to your spouse, kids, friend, or family member.

You could also consider outsourcing the list item. Your time is valuable, and you may find that it is time to pay someone to manage a to-go item for you. For example, if you hate grocery shopping, pay $5 to have it delivered or picked up. There is no shame in delegating work.

Image of quote: do anything but not everything

3. Discard it

Lastly, if you find a to-do list item never being marked off, it is time to consider if that item ever needed to go there in the first place. Do you really need to dust the top of the fridge? No one really sees up there anyway. It’s time to let go of the items that have no bearing on your personal happiness or success.

What to-do items have you marked off your list?

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