Dealing with Everyday Tasks…
We all have everyday tasks that we must knockout (laundry, grocery shopping, responding to emails, etc). These are called maintenance tasks. But they don’t further you towards your dreams. So the question becomes, what options do we have to ease our lives with these maintenance tasks so we can tackle more of what are called growth tasks daily? Good question! And that’s what I (Phil Svitek) will teach you today. I will explore the 6 various methods at your disposal. I cite examples such as Beyonce, Gandhi, ABC’s Shark Tank, AfterBuzz TV’s Maria Menounos and Keven Undergaro and others to help illustrate my points better. I’ll provide step by step instructions so you know exactly how to emulate these titans. So go ahead, check out the episode and try these techniques and see how they work out for you. Also, feel free to comment below with any suggestions you might have, or of course ask a question about specifics for your own situation.
Part 1 (Scientific Way to Combat Procrastination): https://philsvitek.com/scientific-way-to-combat-procrastination/
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Last week I discussed a scientific way to combat procrastination. As a quick recap, I highlighted the two types of tasks each of us do: maintenance and growth tasks. Maintenance tasks are required ones. They’re the daily activities that inevitably fill up a lot of your time – cooking and eating, sleeping, showering, laundry, cleaning, work, etc. Anything that can be categorized as a “must”. Growth tasks are the opposite of must. They are “could” tasks. Meaning you could do them but you don’t have to. They are your dreams, goals, ambitions or whatever else you want to call them. These tasks could earn you more money, help society by inventing something useful or curing a disease, gain you notoriety, voice your artistic vision to the masses and so on. Maintenance tasks are survival tasks while growth tasks are ones that allow you to thrive in life.
In the last lesson, I went into detail about how to achieve more growth tasks in your day. I highly recommend watching that lesson first, because this lesson in essence is part two of that lesson. It’s not fully required, but it will make more sense once you have full knowledge of that lesson. A link is provided for you convenience.
Anyway, for this so-called part two I wanted to strictly focus on maintenance tasks. This is because I know a lot of artists, including myself sometimes, struggle just to survive, metaphorically speaking. We feel so overwhelmed by all the life tasks that we hardy get a moment to ourselves and to tackle our dreams aka growth tasks.
Ever hear the phrase that Beyonce has the same amount of time as you in her day? I’m sure you have, but if you haven’t, what it’s saying is you should use your time better because comparatively speaking, Beyonce knocks out a lot of growth tasks in a day. What the phrase fails to do is highlight that she has the time to spend on her growth tasks because she’s not bogged down by maintenance tasks as much as the rest of us. And so I think it is important to examine maintenance tasks further and see what options exist.
When it comes to maintenance tasks, the options you have are:
- Eliminate them
- Automate them
- Off-load them
- Simplify them
- Combine them
- Create better systems through
- Bulking them together or
- Spreading them out
There may be others, but these are ones that come to my mind and will offer the most bang for your buck. If you do have other suggestions though, by all means write them down in the comment section. I’d love to read them.
The more you employ each of these across a variety of tasks, the more time you’ll be able to allot to your growth tasks, just like Beyonce.
Let’s dive into each one of these options, shall we?
Elimination – this one is the trickiest because often times we can’t eliminate maintenance tasks. But it is always good to assess everything because you may find yourself doing something which actually gives you little to no return whatsoever. What I mean by this is let’s say you run an online retail store and one day you look at your sources of revenue and notice that you spend a lot of time managing your Amazon store when you only get 1% of sales from Amazon versus your website. That is an extreme case but showcases the need to eliminate tasks. Many, including author Tim Ferriss, attribute this to the Pareto Principle or more commonly referred to as the 80/20 rules. The principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In business management it’d mean that 80% of sales come from 20% of clients. I’ll go into this principle in detail in a lesson in the future as it’s really a great tactic to apply. But it’s an advanced tactic. First we must crawl before we walk and before we eventually run. Nevertheless, if you’re feeling up to it and think there are tasks you can eliminate, then go ahead. As a simple way to begin, you might just want to look at all activities you do, maintenance and otherwise, and assess if they’re bringing you anything of value. For example, I know lots of people with big dreams that waste their free time with video games. Nothing wrong with video games. They are fun. But they are not maintenance tasks nor are they growth tasks, unless you plan on getting into the video game industry. However, if you don’t plan on being in the video game industry and when you have larger ambitions, video games might be the thing that has to go. So assess everything and eliminate. A lot of successful people are successful because they’re excellent and ridding themselves of frivolous activities.
Automation – this option, for me, is the ideal. For those that have seen many episodes of mine know I often point to my dog feeders as a form of automation. The dog feeder dispenses dog food to my dogs at the time they need to eat and I don’t have to worry about anything. What’s wonderful about today’s day and age is that there’s so much technology to help us with our daily tasks. You can look at a dishwasher in the same way as this. It washes your dishes for you. But there are advanced forms of this. For example, most businesses in the past used to have create KPIs (key performance indicators) by hand. Now with software, we can automate the reporting. Another version of this is when you publish a new piece of content across multiple platforms and instead of inputting the same information over and over, which can be quite time consuming, you just type it in once and it spits it out across all of the platforms. Setting up auto payments is a version of automation. Just be careful to still check you monthly bills so you know where your money is truly going and not being wasted or receiving fees you weren’t aware of. Regardless of the task, I always aim to automate it. I would call it one of my driving forces in life. How I go about this is just simple internet searches. If I can find something for cheap, I at least try it. I suggest the same to you. You’d be surprised at what’s available in today’s modern society.
Off-load – what this means is you pass on certain tasks to someone else. For example a gardener who comes in a mows your lawn and trims your bushes is a form of off-loading a task. Other examples include getting an editor to cut your videos for you, hiring an assistant, an accountant, etc. Off-loading tasks can be great but first off remember that you are their boss. Just because they may be an expert in something doesn’t mean they should have free rein to do what they please. It must be at your direction. This can take time to set up initially, so make sure you’re aware. Secondly, it can be costly. You are literally hiring someone to help you. If you get someone to walk your dogs for you while you’re at work, you are paying for someone’s time to come in and do a task for you. So this option may not be right for everyone, at least not initially when you’re just beginning your career. But as time goes by and you’re able to assess the cost-benefit ratio and find that spending more time on these tasks is actually costing you money, then by all means off-load some of them.
Simplification – this option too requires you to assess tasks and see if the yield justifies the cost. For example, if in the beginning you needed to write elaborate descriptions for SEO purposes but now even if you write a shorter description you receive the same amount of views, then just write the shorter description. Another form of simplification is to create a template. When it comes to thumbnail graphics for episodes of shows and such, having a template can cut down a significant amount of time required to create these. Sometimes, people just snap a new photo on their phone for each episode and add text over it. Whatever works as long as it’s not hurting the end product. A more universal form of simplification is breakfast. Many successful people I know eat the same thing for breakfast because it keeps things simple – shopping and cooking. Challenge yourself to find all the ways you can simplify your life.
Combine some – this is a very easy form of easing your life. You just take two so called maintenance tasks and do them at the same time. Maybe you have to make a call to your doctor’s office. Why not do it in the car as you drive to work or as you cook breakfast. The key to combining tasks is one task must be relatively mindless or automatic while the other is mental.
Lastly, create better systems. Maybe you’re doing things daily that eat up a lot of your time that you don’t actually need to be doing each day. Perhaps you would benefit by bulking these tasks together into one large chuck of time. This is the reason why many people have a cleaning day. It is the one day where they strictly focus on cleaning the house, doing laundry, etc and can knock everything out. Sure it takes time but they devote their mental efforts to this and then the rest of the week they don’t have to spend time thinking about it. The opposite of this might be true, like cleaning dishes. Instead of letting them pile up in the sink, try cleaning them after every mean. This allows you to minimize the task into bit size, manageable parts so you’re not overwhelmed.
So there you have it, the various methods in which to approach the maintenance tasks to help ease your life. As you can see, a large chunk of what’s required of you is assessment, which in an of itself is a growth task by the way. But do it. It’s important. You don’t want to spend your life just surviving. You want to thrive.
Before we wrap out this lesson though, he’s a few more things. Let’s say after assessing your life at this current stage you really can’t find ways to ease the maintenance tasks you have going on. That’s okay. You tried. You might have to build to it. As I mentioned, some of these might require money. Money you don’t have at the moment. But you can build to it. To do so, you’ll have to spend whatever precious time you have left over on growth tasks. It might be just a small amount of time but force yourself to really focus and use that time. It’s a matter of asking yourself how bad do you want it because as ABC’s Shark Tank and hundreds of other success stories have proved to us, there’s plenty of people in dire circumstances who have the motivation to climb out of their current situation. People who started with nothing have built some of the most successful businesses ever. They never gave up. Combine your drive with the tactics highlighted in the last lesson and I’m sure you’ll be able to do it. After all, why else would you be watching videos like this if you didn’t have a passion for something. You do. And I want you to act on it. The tactics highlighted today are meant to help you gain more time for growth tasks. But it’s not required. You can achieve greatness even with limited time. So ask yourself, how bad do you want it?
What a lesson, huh? I hope you take advantage of everything you learned. To recap, maintenance tasks are “musts”. They are the daily activities which you can’t avoid. But you can:
- Automate them
- Off-load them
- Simplify them
- Combine them
- Create better systems through
- Bulking them together or
- Spreading them out
- Eliminate “seemingly required” tasks
Now before you click away to another lesson from Phil, here’s a few more things. For your benefit, the transcript of this episode is on Phil’s website. A link is provided so you can always review it. Please be sure to hit that like button if you enjoyed this episode and tell your friends and family about us. Leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions and what lessons you’d like to see Phil tackle next. The more specific you are with your questions, the better he can answer them. Also, you can support this show on patreon.com/philsvitek if it doesn’t burden you financially in any way. Every contribution is truly appreciated and helps defray the costs of putting on this show – which as you can imagine takes a lot of effort. To be notified when future episodes release, subscribe on Apple Podcast, YouTube, Facebook, Google Podcast, Spotify or whatever other platform is most convenient to you. Specific links are provided below. Lastly, if you’re interested in joining AfterBuzz TV as a host or as an intern, visit AfterBuzz TV’s contact page. A direct link is provided. Or of course you can Tweet @PhilSvitek or Instagram me @BonjourJuliet. Thanks for watching. I’m Juliet Vibert, a producer on the show and we’ll see you next week with another one of Phil’s life lessons. In the meantime, go after your growth tasks!