Take Things Off the Plate

In Learning Network by Jamie Mierau

Doing your best work means focusing on only your most important work. In Great At Work, Morten Hansen talks about “doing less, and then obsess”—choosing a few priorities (we call them “imperatives”), and then dedicating your efforts toward excelling at them.

Knowing and using your imperatives is the first step in striking a better balance and taking things off your plate. (See Manage Competing Priorities.)

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There are several techniques we use to sort and prioritize the tasks associated with our imperatives – direct match, traffic light, and forced ranking. (Take Things Off Plate Worksheet) You can use these techniques to figure out what needs to come off your plate. Then comes the hard part—actually take them off your plate. It’s challenging we know, but no one is going to do that hard work for you.

Ways to take things off your plate.

  • Delete—not worth doing
  • Delegate—not worth your doing / better suited for someone else
  • Backburner—worth doing but not now
  • Produce C-level work—not all work is equal, don’t bring your A-game to everything

Take back your power by taking things off your plate. Say “no” to say “yes.” And let us know how it goes. Share your stories, suggestions, and lessons learned for taking things off your plate.

Capacity Equation Equal Graphic