Research Studies have shown that people most often fail to act when they think simultaneously about the result they want and the actions they will need to take to accomplish it. The actions that need to be taken are often complex or uncomfortable, and trying to resolve the “how” can make it all too easy to decide that the “what” is just too overwhelming.
This is nowhere more true than in the case of eliminating activities, and the major impediment is that the need for a solution is in the mind at the same time that the activity is identified. A lot of the things that we do are difficult to get out of our day and our behaviors and the powerful resistance that we put up make it anything but simple to do in common practice.
Tasks to be eliminated may require significant work to eliminate them, and it is often easiest to take the line of least resistance and allow the roadblocks that we automatically put up to derail any change. This analysis paralysis can take many forms, but the three most common are:
- The task is complicated and I don’t have time to figure it out
- There’s nobody else who can do it
- I secretly don’t really want to eliminate it.
Hopefully the Strategic Time Gain exercise will help overcome the last one, but the others really need a different approach. Like eating an elephant, the key is not to try to do the whole thing at once. The secret to eliminating inappropriate activities lies in separating identification from action, separating the review that you need to undertake to identify what needs to be eliminated from the action you will need to take to actually get rid of the offending items.
Imagine for a moment that you could free your mind from all of the reasons why something won't work. Imagine that you could eliminate the obvious practicalities from the situation, the reasons why it can’t be done. Imagine you had the resources that would allow you to rid yourself of those limitations. Allow yourself to dream, and imagine your life without the task that you are trying to eliminate.
It's all as simple as this. Don't worry about whether they can be eliminated or not, just produce a list and put it to one side to think about at a future time. The rewards from this are enormous, yet it is not something that many people sit down to do. It takes a little bit of work, but there is a simple technique that can help you separate review from action. What you will find when you do is that it is surprisingly easy if you just use a little discipline.
The ongoing value is that if you can take this approach and apply the discipline regularly then you will start down a path that can help you make some significant changes in the way that you spend your time, the commitments that you make and the activities that you allow into your day.
This technique clears the mind and will allow you to accomplish your Time Gain Goal and make some very positive changes in your business life.