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The Simple Manifesto #4 – Simplify work tasks

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This is part of our series on The Simple Living Manifesto. We invite you to join us on the journey.

The fourth idea in the manifesto is:

Simplify work tasks. Our work day is made up of an endless list of work tasks. If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to-do list, you’ll never get everything done, and worse yet, you’ll never get the important stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest. Read more.

I definitely hope to keep things simplified at the office (both my Monday-Friday and my freelance work on the weekends).

I learned early on, don’t show all your cards at once when you start a new job and limit what you say “yes” to at the office (another one of Leo’s points later on).

Of course putting this intro practice may be something entirely different depending on each situation.

And if your ultimate goal is to get tons of promotions and raises this may not be the best idea (but if that’s your goal — you probably won’t be reading this site).

I’ve seen that learning to simply say, “No” at work has kept me from getting overwhelmed with tasks that aren’t apart of my normal job — and help me excel in what my job description requires.

In previous jobs I often jumped up and took the initiative to go far beyond my duties but it rarely benefited me in the long run and only lead to working longer hours and more stress.

A few pointers:

  • When asked for help, examine your schedule and priorities and agree to help only if your schedule permits
  • If the task only takes a few minutes, help right away so its done and you can move on
  • If the task is involved, let the other person know you’ll help at a particular time, once your other duties are finished
  • Point the person in others who may be able to help. I always get asked about IT issues and if it’s more involved than a couple minutes, I always point them to our IT department
  • Point the person to tools that may help. When time permits I do a quick Google search and point the person to the pertinent information — or offer suggestions as to what they can Google

Also learning to say, “No” to additional jobs and requests has helped me keep work at work (for the most part). That includes freelance work on the weekends as well. I’ve only said yes to projects I really want to work on and that don’t tie up too much of my time at home. Sure it has it’s downsides — like a smaller freelance check each month but the time spent with family and friends is far more meaningful that a few extra dollars at the end of the month.

How have you learned to simplify at work?

Join us!

Write a blog post about the point from the Simple Living Manifesto above and then share the link in the comments below…

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Posted: February 8th, 2010 by Jonathan D. Blundell
Read more in: Living
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2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Simple Manifesto #6 – Learn to say no | we live simply :: learning to live simply so others may simply live 18 02 10
  2. Simple Manifesto #71: Live closer to work 16 07 10

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