Some things you do because your boss tells you to. But where you focus your energy is often your call.

To help you decide what’s worth doing and what’s not, time management expert Patricia Fripp suggests you ask yourself these questions:

  1. Does this earn a living for me? We all have responsibilities that cannot be ignored.
  2. Can I learn from this? Can I grow as a human being by doing this particular piece of work? Will I acquire new skills or insights?
  3. Who am I helping? Who is depending on me to do this and why? Sooner or later any piece of useful work involves us with other people. Will this action bring me together with people in a worthwhile way?
  4. Will I have a chance to do this again? Some opportunities come just once. Is this one? Or am I pretending it is because I really want to do it?
  5. What would happen if I didn’t do it? Am I doing this because I’m the right person? Or because no one else will? Can this be delegated?
  6. What will I have to give up to do this? How will it affect me now and in the future? What sacrifices will I and those around me have to make?
  7. Am I being “emotionally blackmailed”? For example, am I doing this task just so someone’s feelings don’t get hurt? That may be a valid reason, but if it happens a lot it means you’re advancing someone else’s interests at your own expense.
  8. Can I have fun? If I don’t need to do it and don’t have to do it and I can’t enjoy at least some aspect of it, then it’s probably not worth doing.


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