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Eliminate > Automate > Delegate

April 20, 2021
Bill Kimball

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The more tasks that we can eliminate automate or delegate the more complexity we can reduce which will help increase both our effectiveness and efficiency, and allow us to achieve better results. What I love about automation is that it’s a doubled edged sword. Firstly we cannot automate complexity, so it forces us to simplify processes before we can automate them. Secondly once we automotive free’s up our staff to work on more important tasks and it usually has a cost benefit associated with it. My favourite approach to reducing complexity is to eliminate any tasks that are necessary, and I am sure you’re thinking but we don’t have any unnecessary tasks or process.

Default to no, and the truly worthwhile things will be obvious over time. You’ll also be surprised to realize how many things weren’t worth doing in the first place. The host and Vaden banter a bit about how a lot of people have trouble saying, “No.” If you’re a people-pleaser, or a kind, reliable person in general, you’re probably thinking this about yourself at this very moment. It’s worth noting that the Avoid quadrant contains “somebody else’s problems and needs” and the Focus quadrant contains “relationship building”.

  • Both automation and delegation are good tools but still require some bandwidth and management to maintain those systems and ensure they are functioning as they should.
  • Want to complete something in less time, budget less time for it and it will get done.
  • Through the software, I was able to set up scheduling parameters for my different meeting locations, how much time to leave between meetings and a maximum of meetings per day.
  • If the action or work does serve a necessary purpose then look to automate it so that neither you nor anyone else has to spend time or resources managing it in the long run.
  • If the action or work does indeed serve a necessary purpose then look to automate it so that neither you nor anyone else has to spend much time or resources managing it in the long run.
  • When working to free up your time to do high-value work, this is the order that you should follow.

There is no way that back and forth scheduling and sending meeting reminders was the best use of my time, and a wonderful piece of technology not only replaced me but did it far better and more consistently. All I do now is send one email to clients, or anyone else that would like to meet, with a scheduling link and the software does the rest. This process easily saves me over 100 hours per year, if not more, in unnecessary back and forth communication. It also has made so that I am almost always able to view all client documents prior to our meeting, which allows me to do much better prep work and provide greater value to my clients. I had explored scheduling software before, but now it was becoming a necessity. Scheduling meetings and reminding clients what to bring is not the best use of my time for my clients. I explored many different scheduling platforms and settled on Accuity due to its tremendous customization capabilities.

Core Exercises Everyone Should Be Doing Every Day

Repetitive tasks, or tasks that aren’t streamlined, are of least value, yet most often clutter entrepreneurs’ lives. First, eliminate anything you can from your to do list; determine if any tasks can be automated with technology or templates; and finally, delegate any tasks that don’t need your personal attention.

But let me just say, that in every company I have ever worked, there has always been unnecessary bureaucracy, processes that people are just following without question which add little to no value. If you can’t eliminate or automate it, then that task falls to the bottom of the funnel, which is delegate.

Coworking spaces like Stone & Chalk can be great for businesses not suited to a typical office. Hear from Chris Kirk of Stone & Chalk on this podcast.

In my own case, I can say that it becomes addicting in a very good way. I have a task management software that I use (it’s called Nozbe, if you’re curious). It is where I dump all of my one-time and recurring tasks and projects. One of my favorite recurring tasks that I have set to show up every day is my “Eliminate something today” task. I have had this repeating task in my task manager for over five years and it is one of the most important things I do on a daily basis. If you still cannot eliminate it, automate it, delegate it, or procrastinate-on-purpose, then concentrate on it and get it done. Every year I would go through my clients to schedule annual meetings.

In this conversation with Steph, Xero In hosts Rob Stone and Jeanne-Vida Douglas talk about her unique approach to helping small businesses make better use of process and technology to fulfil their potential. For many people, defining and sticking to a routine can help. If you know you operate at your best when you have exercised and had a good breakfast, making those things a priority will positively affect the rest of your day. Whatever we cannot automate we should then look to delegate.

This goes back to the reason that you should always eliminate if possible, rather than automate. Automation is a wonderful way to free up more of your precious time in order to create more value.

Watch Automate, Delegate And Eliminate With Will Christensen

Always look to eliminate first, then to automate, and then to delegate. Eliminate that “service” your business provides that really doesn’t add value to clients or customers so you can focus that time on the services that add immense value. Here are some ideas that may be helpful in determining what you can eliminate to free up more of your time and money for greater things. Some are easy and fun to eliminate. In either case, once you have eliminated something non-essential, or downright unhealthy, from your life, the freedom you will feel in terms of time, stress and even money will be wonderful.

The best part of eliminating something is that it is a very clean way of completely removing something from your plate. Once you donate those books to the library that have been sitting on your shelf, guilting you to read them, your constant reminder is gone. You can always check them out later if they are that important to you. I wish you all the best as you strive to create greater value with your limited time. So, in summary, less time spent, more value provided.

As I wrote in the last post, the order here is very important. This site provides curated lists of some of the top books, videos, online courses and other resources across a wide range of self-help topics. The topics are all foundational elements to help you succeed in life, for anything that you do. The Mastery Quadrant has been developed based on a detailed study of the learning process followed by masters (elite top-performers) to develop their skills, and how this differs from the masses. By emulating the manner in which masters learn, you can develop deeper expertise and increase your efficiency level for anything that you seek to learn. I came across this blog a little bit late but I love the fact that the message conveyed still applies today. If I apply this knowledge, I will achieve more in life and grow as an entrepreneur.

More Time For Future You

Identify tasks that are interrupting your flow (email, phone calls, meetings, etc.) and schedule a time to do them all at once. Look to delegate any work down the chain that can be delegated and have the right people focused on the right job. These are the processes that need to be eliminated. We have to be ruthless, we have to challenge everything.

eliminate automate delegate

Vaden has some suggestions on how to identify and prioritize these tasks, and that is what the bulk of this post is about. The Not Urgent & Not Important bottom right is healthy in moderation because everyone needs to veg from time to time. Easy short-term choices, difficult long-term consequences. Certainly six years ago we were starting our journey to change all of our clients from using old-school desktop accounting to being able to use Xero. And that might be as simple as literally writing down things that happen during the day, or it might be a much larger scenario of someone else coming into the business and – and really doing some analysis work.

When it can’t wait, you do the thing. Concentrate, give yourself permission to protect your focus, and do it. And of course, there are ways to delegate at home, too.

Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. Want to complete something in less time, budget less time for it and it will get done. A flow state is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. This leads to a tremendous boost in productivity and enjoyment, in anything that you do.

All low-valued routine activities that you have left on your list, after you have eliminated the non-essential and automated what you can, should ideally be delegated or outsourced . I seriously believe if you follow this framework for every task on your to-do list, for self-improvement or for business, that you can succeed at anything. People never think of other ways to accomplish the task. Adopting this process pretty much forces you to do that. When you decide that a task can wait, and then it gets eliminated on a future trip through the funnel, you have scored a major victory. Going back to Covey’s grid, you’ve protected some space in the Urgent & Important quadrant and avoided the psychological stress that comes from over-crowding.

Get More Done With Rory Vaden’s Focus Funnel

That’s the permission of imperfect and realizing that 80% done by someone else is better than 100% done by you. If you can embrace the permission of things being a little bit imperfect, for a short term, by somebody else doing it, then that’s going to multiply your time in the future. Simply put, there are only so many minutes in the day and success often depends on knowing how to focus our time, so as to get the biggest return. But whereas most people concentrate on what’s most important and/or urgent, there’s a third factor that you need to consider–and it can be truly life-changing. Eliminate, automate, delegate, procrastinate on purpose, concentrate.If you have a task to do, see if you can first not do it. If you cannot eliminate it, see if you can automate it. If that cannot be done, see if you can delegate it.

It would usually begin with me emailing a client asking if there was a good time for them to meet in the next couple of weeks. Sometimes they would get back to me within a couple of days, sometimes within a couple of weeks, sometimes never, in which case I would reach out again to start the process over. I’m going to use the example of scheduling meetings to illustrate the power of automation as it’s likely the most significant automation I have implemented in the last 5 years. Whether this directly pertains to you or not, the principal is the same and I encourage you to think through the time in your life that could be freed up through automation.

eliminate automate delegate

When working to free up your time to do high-value work, this is the order that you should follow. Look first to eliminate something if it does not serve a significant purpose.

Read something positive every single day, whether it’s a book, a part of a book, or a blog, or article. Eliminate that massive bush in your front yard that needs to be pruned every other day that you don’t enjoy or like in the least . Eliminate your availability for work on the weekends or evenings to spend time on more important things. Eliminate that toxic relationship so you can pour into those who matter most in your life. This one simple daily habit reminds me to always be working to remove the non-essential items from my life and work.