Learn To Practise 'Intentional Neglect' To Ditch Unimportant Tasks

Having more work on your plate than hours in the day is nothing new for most of us. The key to managing our workload is, sometimes, to learn what can fall off and what needs immediate attention, and let the unimportant work slide, whether we have explicit approval or not. Former CEO (and current Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers) Michael Hyatt describes this as "intentional neglect", an essential part of triaging your workload.

Photo by Joel Bez.

This type of triage isn't as easy as just picking things from your to-do list that you don't think are critical and just forgetting about them. After all, few of us have the privilege of completely setting our own workload. In reality, what you need to do is evaluate whether the item on your list is important to you, important to the people who have asked you to do it, and important to your manager. If the answer to all or most of those questions is no, put it on the back burner. This leads into how to best prioritise your work, a topic we've covered before that Hyatt goes into as well in his post.

The major takeaway is that too many of us think that our inboxes and to-do lists are things that happen to us passively — they don't have to be, and the first step to beating them is taking an active role in controlling them. If you're already overwhelmed, take a moment, examine whether the work you're doing is important to anyone with an opinion that matters, and if it's not, let it go and move on to the next item on your list. Easier said than done? How do you get rid of the busywork on your to-do list? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

When You Feel Overwhelmed by Your Workload [Michael Hyatt]


    Here's what i use, and it works quite well for me.

    There are 3 levels of importance:

    Vital: The world with crumble if I don't do this right now. Examples include paying car registration before due date, paying your phone bill or paying for advertising for your business.

    Important: I should do this at some stage, but it can wait a few days. Examples include paying the electricty bill (it takes almost 6 months to get sent to a debt collector!), refunding that PITA client, or calling that lead.

    Urgent: It's in your face, but it doesn't really matter. Urgent is the most interesting category, because it usually masquerades as Vital or Important tasks. That is, people often mistake a ringing phone, or a new email as the Most Impotant Thing I Could Be Doing Right Now. At the end of the day - it will wait.

    If you rank you dailiy tasks A, B or C (A is Vital, B is Important, C is Urgent) then 1, 2, 3 in order of importance within the A, B, C framework, you can always make sure, on a daily basis, that you get the Vital tasks done first, and the Urgent but unimportant tasks wait till later. Of course, if you're anything like me, your "C" tasks almost never get completed. Therein lies the biggest secret of successful business: Delegation.

      My husband has Friday and Monday off, so it will relaly be a long weekend. Tomorrow I hope to sneak in some reading (I'm 50 pages into The Lace Reader) then on Saturday we will be having some neighbors over for a BBQ. Lastly I hope to get my new URL up and running!!

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