Doing What Only You Can Do by Meggin McIntosh, PhD

In General
Sep 2nd, 2013

Woman flexing biceps.One of my favorite concepts for productivity is to do only “what only I can do.”  That is, I have particular talents, strengths, responsibilities, and aptitudes and I need to be doing ONLY those things that tap into these parts of myself and my life. Consider these 10 tips for refining your focus so that you are doing what only you can do.

  1. Post this question near your work station (or anywhere else you need to be reminded of the concept): “What can I, and only I, do today?”
  2. Take stock in your strengths, talents, responsibilities, and aptitudes. Own them and honor them. One of my favorite books to aid in this quest is Now, Discover Your Strengths, published by the Gallup Organization.
  3. Each week, determine what your highest priorities are.
  4. Put a price tag on various tasks that you are currently doing, but that don’t seem to fall into the “what only you can do” category. Are you the only one who can wash a car?  Clean your house?  Stuff envelopes for a mailing?  Bake cookies?  And if you’d like a postcard with a little chart on it to help remind you of this, just contact my assistants with your best mailing address.
  5. If your hourly “pay” is more than what you can hire someone else to do a task, then hire it done. (Note: This applies to jobs, chores, and projects, not to personal areas such as reading to your children before they go to sleep at night.) A fine teenager in your neighborhood might need money for a college fund and would be delighted to mow your lawn.
  6. Value yourself and others, and that includes valuing everyone’s time.
  7. Ask yourself throughout the day, “What is the best use of my time, right now?” This does not mean that every minute of your day must be packed with activity. Sometimes a nap with your cat is just what you need.
  8. Eliminate unimportant tasks, chores, and projects altogether.
  9. Then, eliminate less important tasks, chores, and projects.
  10. Support those around you so that they, too, are doing what only they can do.

This is a difficult concept at first, but once you begin to get a handle on it, you become diligent about increasing your productivity by eliminating tasks, jobs, projects, etc., that you are not best suited for, based on your skills and talents.  Give it a try. Just pick one of the suggestions and see what happens.  Your awareness will increase first….then your productivity as you implement more of the ideas.

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