Overwhelmed is the new normal. No matter the job, we all end up with a lot more work over time, and the only way to get out of it is to redesign your job. After all, it's your job, so make it work for you and stop wasting your time.

In the past, time management experts would recommend that you divide up your work into tasks, A, B, C, and so forth. The concept was to do the A tasks first, then the B tasks, then the C tasks, when you can get to them. If priorities changed, you just changed the order.

In today's economy, it's a matter of professional life or death to get rid of your low-value work, the tasks that mean little or nothing to customers or colleagues.

Here's how to do it:

Vote it off the island. The idea is to stop doing something that isn't important, but to check first so that it doesn't get you into trouble.

Automate it. If it's low value, it's easy to automate. Just find a friend or colleague who's good with technology to help you do it.

Write your own rules. Limit what you are going to do and then make sure people know your rules.

Every week, block off time for 'real' work. Use the time to figure out how to get rid of your low-value work. Just an hour can make a difference. Pick a time and stick to it.


Inspired by: Harvard Business Review - Stop Doing Low-Value Work, by Priscilla Claman