by Mark Moses, Entrepreneur Coach at CEO Coaching International
As a coach to top CEOs, I spend a lot of time working with entrepreneurs to help them take action towards extraordinary results. Many leaders don’t realize that in addition to focusing on what you need to do, it’s just as important to decide what to stop doing to make room for new growth.
Without regularly pruning our to-do lists, we can’t fully invest in new ideas to drive our growth. Cutting down our responsibilities to just a few really important things allows us to be more productive, effective, and happier. Here are five types of tasks you should stop doing today.
1. Recurring tasks you can delegate.
As you’re living through your busy week, take note of any repeating tasks that you could take off your plate. I see a lot of entrepreneurs shy away from outsourcing small tasks because they don’t seem significant, but when repeated on a daily or weekly basis, the time drain adds up.
Try using my ten-minute rule; if any process takes you more than 10 minutes and is repeated at least weekly, aim to delegate it. If you can find three of these responsibilities to take off your plate, you will free up two hours every month to focus on the big stuff that really matters.
2. Projects you can outsource to a pro.
Many of us entrepreneurs pride ourselves on our ability to learn new things, but the end result is that we get spread too thin and become mediocre at a variety of tasks. Your time is most profitably spent on the five most important things a CEO should focus on (Vision, Cash, Right People in the Right Jobs, Key Relationships & Continuous learning), so resist the urge to take on new projects at which you aren’t an expert.
I see entrepreneurs waste time and energy on projects from video production to searching for a new office to SEO to landscaping, only to realize later that they’re better off paying an expert to do the job right. If you consider the cost of delays and mistakes, it’s easy to justify hiring a qualified specialist the first go-round. In directing more of your time toward what you do best, you maximize the value you create each day.
3. Tasks you don’t enjoy.
The things we don’t enjoy are the things that don’t get done and cause us to feel behind and overwhelmed. If you’ve been putting off a task that you’re not passionate about, give yourself permission to stop doing it. Keep in mind that as CEO, it’s not your job to do everything, but it is your job to get everything done. By assigning the responsibility to a member of your team, the task will get done on a consistent basis and you will have more time to focus on what you find more interesting.
4. Back-to-back meetings.
Take a look at your calendar for the upcoming week. Is more than 80% of your schedule booked with meetings and calls? If so, you are setting yourself up for failure. Without adequate buffers, we get sidetracked with small but urgent issues and have no time left to make progress on important larger goals. Build in buffers between meetings so you can take action while your thoughts are still fresh and you’ll be more efficient overall. Set aside large blocks of uninterrupted time for the most important three things you need to get done this year.
5. Working overtime.
Science supports what most of us know, that long workweeks result in diminishing productivity. But what may surprise you is that not only are the additional hours less productive, your total output decreases because every hour of your week shows lower efficiency over time. In a classic study by Henry Ford, researchers found that when daily working hours were decreased from 10 to 8, and workweeks shortened from 6 days to 5, overall output increased.
Another study from The Business Roundtable found that, “Where a work schedule of 60 or more hours per week is continued longer than about two months, the cumulative effect of decreased productivity will cause a delay in the completion date beyond that which could have been realized with the same crew size on a 40-hour week.” Be aware of your ideal workday length and plan your week accordingly to do more with fewer hours.
The most effective CEO’s at driving revenue and profitability growth are the best at pursuing just a few things and doing them with relentless focus and discipline. Don’t allow yourself to indulge in self-important thinking, challenge yourself to acknowledge tasks that other folks do better than you. Even simple tasks that are easy to complete are done more effectively by a team member who does them often. What are the tasks you are thankful you outsourced? Which do you most need to delegate in the future? I challenge you to stop doing one task from each of these five categories this week and let me know how it goes, I always love to hear from you.
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About Mark Moses
Mark Moses is the Founding Partner of CEO Coaching International. CEO Coaching International coaches 100 of the world’s top high-growth entrepreneurs and CEO’s. They coach them on how to dramatically grow their revenues & profits, implement the most effective strategy, becoming a better leader, grow their people, build accountability systems and elevate their own performance. Mark has won Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award and the Blue Chip Enterprise award for overcoming adversity. His last company ranked #1 Fastest-Growing Company in Los Angeles as well as #10 on the Inc. 500 of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. He has completed 12 full distance Ironman Triathlons including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship 5 times.