David Allen’s Step two touches on trashing things. I like to sort my stuff into: do, defer, delegate or ditch. Delegation was covered in the last lesson.
But possibly the hardest decision we will make is to stop doing something – to ditch it. So I have prepared a worksheet to help you decide whether you should ditch something or not. It can feel pretty risky to do and I hate it when I am on the other end of it – but it is a strategy for managing the stuff on your plate.
I had a boss once who simply didn’t respond to my emails. Yes she was not an effective manager of people, but a brilliant manager of her bosses. You can bet she was responding to their emails! Her problem was that she couldn’t make decisions so just ignored them – which meant often ignoring emails that required a decision to be made. While I have painted her as pretty ineffective, her response to managing her work was simply to ignore or ditch stuff. But there were consequences. Can you guess what they might have been?
So, I am not advocating ignoring your team so you can pander only to your boss. But I am suggesting that there will be things that you could trial ‘ignore’ and see what happens. If there are no consequences, then keep going with the trial or just accept that that task is no longer important enough to spend time on.
Download the worksheet and list all of the things that fell into QIII and QIV in your Time Management Matrix that you would be willing to ditch. Ask yourself:
- What is the risks or potential consequences?
- What is their impact on you or others?
- What is the likelihood?
- What could you do to mitigate the risk?
- Test it.