Should I even be doing this?

Everyone I know is too busy.  Work is crazy!  Too much to do and not enough time.  Heck, that is true for life in general now!

The question (that I don’t ask myself enough) to ask is “Should I even be doing this?”
Why am I doing this task in the first place?  Am I doing this because it is a habit now? Or, the last person in this job did it?
Who is consuming the output of the effort?  Do they derive a value equal or greater then the effort that goes into doing the task?  Or does it end up an unread email in someone’s inbox?
Is there someone better suited to do this?  Either better skilled? Or at a more appropriate pay grade (up or down)?
Can I make it more efficient?  Am I attending a regularly scheduled weekly hour long meeting? That is 50 + hours a year!  Can you honestly answer the question of “what is the value you bring to yourself, your team, or to the meeting?” Do you like the answer?  If not, why are you going?  Can you just stop going?  Will anyone notice?
Ok, maybe you can’t just stop going…  But is there an agenda?  I bet there isn’t.  Can you ask the leader to create one from now on?  Can you attend just part of the time? Or actually, do everyone a favor – is there a way to make the meeting only 30 minutes?  I have learned that meetings expand to fit the time allotted.  Allot less time!  Can you do the meeting in 15 minutes? How about 10?
I have said it before – email isn’t work.  Turn off your email client and get real work done!  You might be surprised at how much you can do when you aren’t distracted!  Try checking email just on scheduled intervals – maybe first thing in the morning, lunch, mid-afternoon and then right before you leave.  Instead of spending half your day on email, you are now only spending 30 minutes to an hour a day.  You just gained 2 – 3 hours!
Do you have an agenda of what you want to accomplish each day?  You are pretty much guaranteed not to get it done if you haven’t thought through what it is you need to accomplish.  It is easy to spend your day in endless meetings and checking email if you don’t have a clear picture of what you really need to accomplish.
So next time you think you are just too busy and it is impossible to do all the work you have, ask yourself “Should I even be doing this?”
Helpful external links:

Author: yourcto

Senior Software Eng Exec / VP Product Management - LinkedIn: