Most of you have probably interacted with a few job descriptions over your lifetime. For those of you fortunate enough to have avoided them, job descriptions are those long, or short, lists of job responsibilities, tasks, and activities associated with a particular position and all of the needed qualifications, skills, and knowledge to do it. They help outline expectations for both the employee and the employer.
As boring as that may sound (I’m stifling a yawn myself), these pieces of paper are foundational to a successful and productive career. They give us much-needed focus and direction and help us prioritize in the midst of uncertainty. They also provide a clear roadmap to how you will be evaluated at a specific point in time, typically the end of the year. As important as these tools are on the j-o-b, they are arguably more important in other life vocations, yet very few of us have ever created one.
Your life description gives you focus and tells you where you should be spending your time on a daily basis. Do you know what you were uniquely hired or designed to do in this life? Let’s find out!
Identify Key Roles
Take out a piece of paper and write down all of the hats that you wear. Mom, wife, employee, business owner, blogger, author, chef, chauffer, housekeeper, etc. As you look at this list, which ones do you believe you were uniquely called to do? Circle the ones that stand out to you as most critical.
I’m not asking which ones HAVE to get done. Which roles were you uniquely called to fill? Which ones do you enjoy? Which ones do you have special gifts for? Which ones are you particularly passionate about? Which ones do you believe you will be held accountable for during your performance review at the end of this life?
Turn that page over or pull out another page. On this sheet, make a list of everything you do. Start with your day and think through all of the activities that you do in a given day, then week, then month, etc.
This is not intended to be an inclusive list but to get your brain thinking about all the things you do. This is as much of a mindset shift as physical. The physical will help us get there.
Categorize Those Tasks
Next to each task item, write either the letter K for Keep, D for Delegate, or E for Eliminate.
K – Keep
Only put a K next to those things that you
2: are uniquely called to do, AND
3: move the needle in your life (dreams, family).
If it doesn’t meet those three criteria, it does not get a K.
D – Delegate
These are the things that need to be done but YOU don’t have to do them. Either they
- don’t move the needle in your life,
2. you aren’t passionate about them, or
3. you aren’t particularly gifted in that area.
This does not mean they aren’t important. They may be VERY important, but the key here is YOU. Do YOU have to be the one to do them? It may not be YOUR job to find someone to do them either.
You may not be in position to delegate all of these tasks right now. I get that. The point is to begin to delegate what you can and the goal is to eventually push the rest off of your plate. Go ahead and write a D next to those items even you aren’t in a position to delegate just yet.
E – Eliminate
These are things that don’t need to be done at all, by you or anyone else in your immediate circle.
You may be looking at a surprisingly slim list of tasks with the letter E next to them. Often these tasks don’t even make it to our lists, we do them without even thinking of them as tasks, but they sure do take a lot of our time. Things like scrolling through social media, watching TV, worrying. These thing consume our time without us even consciously recognizing it.
As I mentioned, this is a living list. As you go home and find yourself doing activities, bring it to your conscious brain and ask yourself if this item is a Keeper, to be delegated, or eliminated. If delegated, assign someone else to it immediately and move it off of your plate.
Now, take a look at the roles you identified in the first activity and start slotting the specific tasks under those activities. All of your Keep items should find a home here, along with many of the Delegate. Just because you don’t need to do them doesn’t mean they aren’t critical to getting done. As the Home Manager, you may be responsible for overseeing that they get done, but you don’t have to do them yourself.
The key here is to make sure that you are spending the majority of your day on activities that are aligned with the roles you have identified as most critical in your life. Yes, we all have that tiny blurb “all other duties as assigned,” at the bottom of our descriptions. If we aren’t careful, our lives can be filled with those duties instead of the ones that move the needle in our lives, the ones we will be evaluated on at the end.
Where are you spending your time? Make it count!