Is It Necessary?
July 10, 2022
There are days when I have a lot of priorities competing for my attention and focus. While those priorities are all demanding my attention, I’m also bombarded with new tasks – emails to respond to, meetings to attend-that I have to make time for. Balancing the already “to-do” tasks with the new tasks can sometimes be overwhelming.
I have a simple mental model that helps me deal with this challenge.
Before undertaking anything new, I ask myself a simple question, ” Is this necessary?”
The question forces me to consider why I do something. Do I want to do it because it is necessary and adds value or because I want to feel productive and busy? If I don’t take on the task, what will happen? If the response I give myself is “it’s not necessary, and nothing will go wrong even if I don’t take it up,” I refuse to take up the task. If, however, undertaking the task adds value, then there is nothing more to do than incorporate it into my schedule at the next available opportunity.
Although much of what comes our way as work to complete seems essential, it isn’t. Eliminating those tasks that are not necessary creates the much-needed space for you to do the actual work that creates value.