We spend a lot of time thinking about things we have to do. But if you want to save time, here are some tasks I think you can safely chuck from your life:
1. Filing emails. If your inbox has a search function, why bother? Achieving "inbox zero" doesn't mean you've done anything. It means you've spent a lot of time playing around with your inbox.
2. Trying to figure out what the next hot social media site will be. Last year, everyone was furrowing their brows over Foursquare. Right now I'm hearing a lot about Pinterest. If it's going to last, it will still be hot next year, so you've got time.
3. Finishing that book you started. If you have to put it on your list to finish it, you probably aren't getting much out of it anyway.
4. Chairing the standing weekly staff meeting. Hopefully you've got good enough people that you don't need to assemble everyone once a week to learn that everyone is still doing her job.
5. Researching places and menus for business lunches. Choose one favorite spot. Make it a policy to order the same thing every time (like a chicken Caesar salad) so you're not studying the menu when you could be studying your new contact.
6. Going to conference panels. Oh, you should go to conferences, but the panels are basically just there to fill the time and get various experts to show up. The point of conferences is to meet people. You can often get recordings or transcripts of sessions later. Pop in and out and find the people you want to see (definitely do not take the swag).
7. Transferring information between calendars. Why do you have separate work and personal calendars anyway? Why not just have one calendar for life?
8. Updating your resume. Yes, you need to think about how to present yourself, but I'm wagering that within the next year or two, what we think of as a resume will completely change. It will probably involve linking to a portfolio of work, a video clip and so forth. Which is good. Because people are hard to summarize on one sheet of paper.
9. Learning to be an extrovert. As we're learning from Susan Cain's new best-selling book, Quiet, introverted folks can succeed in business too.
What should be #10? What do you think can safely exit your to-do list?