Action Catalyst Blog

Eliminate, Automate, and Delegate


We live in a time where serious time management is needed. Keeping up with emails, messages, past clients, referral partners, family, new prospects, new recruits, business planning, budgets, and just the daily requirements of running a household is something that has so many of us stretched thin. And as just another guy who is “in the stairwell” struggling through these same issues with you I’m always attempting to find new ways for ultimate time management.

I have realized that it’s virtually impossible to keep up with all the things we could be doing and so we’re forced to have the discipline to figure out what are the most important things we need to be doing. In other words, discipline is not just about doing things right but about doing the right things right. And so I’ve been implementing my own system to help me gain some sanity and clarity about my time. Hopefully it will work for you, too. It’s called Eliminate, Automate, and Delegate.

Eliminate – This strategy is often overlooked because it’s so simple. But basically it just means that we need to clear our schedules of some of the things we spend time doing because we think we’re supposed to or because we’ve always done those things. Pay particular attention to “time-suckers” (tasks or people) and consider just straight up getting rid of them. Be asking:

  • What can I eliminate completely from my schedule? What things are not directly income-producing? What distractions can I avoid getting caught up in? And how can I get better at saying the word “no”? [please post a comment below of any simple phrases you use to tell people “no”]

Automate – Automating is an empowering skill because it makes you feel powerfully productive. To automate is to systematize and to organize without having your real-time involvement. Here are the questions to ask yourself:

  • How can I automate routine parts of my schedule? What are the things that I do over and over again that could be wholly or partially taken over by a machine, a computer program, or someone else (or a different department) here in the company?

Delegate – Many successful people are overloaded because we tend to be control freaks. We got to where we are by doing things on our own because we can do it fast and to high standards. However that is a losing long-term strategy because there is a point of diminishing returns as your work piles higher and higher; especially if you’re building people and/or a company. So you have to learn to let go and to empower others and you can start by asking:

  • Who can I delegate to? What are the things that I spend my time doing that someone else could be doing? Realize that at $100k per year your time is worth at least $48 per hour so ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now worth paying someone $48 to do?” If not, then try to think creatively about finding ways to get someone else to do the task.

As I’ve mentioned before I am a big believer in virtual assistants because you are building a personal team to support you and you provide additional jobs meanwhile forcing yourself to let go of tasks – which is healthy in and of itself – and develop as a leader who can more powerfully build others. If you need advice on how to train and work with your assistant, you can find more here: Working with a Virtual Assistant.

Please comment below to share hard core time management strategies you’ve employed to help you lead a more disciplined life.

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See you in the stairwell,

Rory Vaden
Take the stairs – Success means doing what others won’t.

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