Time is one of the scarcest resources we have, and how we use it matters. A Harvard study found that we can save up to 20% of work hours by applying the Drop, Delegate and Redesign framework. Participants in this research cut desk time by six hours and meeting times by two hours each week when they shifted their priorities. Here’s how to get started.

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Step 1 - DROP

The first phase eliminates trivial tasks that take up time and energy from your to-do list. Such activities require precious hours and high brainpower only to yield low-value and non-impactful results. “I realised that the biggest change is simply not to commit myself to low-value tasks in the first place,” explains a participant in the Harvard study. Try out the action priority matrix – a simple tool to ensure you are working on the right tasks in the correct order – to sift out any minor projects and refocus on the ones that matter.

Step 2 - DELEGATE

The best approach to choose what to delegate is to rule out what not to assign to others, explains Michael Gruen, co-founder of TalentX. This means avoiding handing over time-sensitive and confidential tasks, and “most importantly, never delegate a job that you are unwilling to do yourself,” he says, “this is one of the quickest ways to lose the respect of your team.”  Follow these key steps to see how today’s successful leaders delegate work.

Step 3 - REDESIGN

The last stage requires evaluating repetitive, essential tasks and analysing them for bottlenecks or inefficiencies. Once identified, brainstorm with your team innovative ways to best improve such processes. Learn more about design thinking here and how it can help us navigate and problem-solve complex situations.