Eliminate. Simplify. Automate. Delegate. The Four Steps to Freedom!

Eliminate. Simplify. Automate. Delegate. The Four Steps to Freedom!

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“Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined. Otherwise, you waste someone else’s time instead of your own, which now wastes your hard-earned cash. How’s that for incentive to be effective and efficient?”
Timothy Ferris

This is the productivity idea I have used longer than any other. It’s a quick process to help your thinking. It makes things simple and easy, making you and your business far more effective and efficient!

I have always had an economical approach to performing tasks. Whenever I was asked to do something, I would always ask two questions:

1. Why do this task?
2. How do I prevent myself from having to do it again?

These questions might have got me into trouble in school, but the more I applied them to business, the more efficient my business became. I have expanded and refined this ethos into my “Four Steps to Freedom – Eliminate. Simplify. Automate. Delegate.”

The first step is to get rid of anything unnecessary. How many of your tasks really NEED to be done? And if they really need to be done – do they all  have to be done by you? Or done in the same way that you’ve always done them?

Many tasks you currently undertake could probably be done by someone else. But first of all, make sure that they need to be done at all. How much time could you free up by eliminating, simplifying, automating or delegating them, and only doing what you really have to do?

It’s a common misconception that working more gets you more results. Don’t be fooled! Focus on “effectiveness over efficiency.” It’s no good being efficient in tasks that are not effective in the results you desire.

Use the process below for any task to turbocharge your performance. Ask yourself the following four questions:

Q1 – Eliminate
Does this task need to be done?
Does it help me get to where I want to go?

If yes, go to Q2.
If no – don’t do it!

Q2 – Simplify
Can this task be simplified?

If yes, simplify it.
If no, go to Q3

Q3 – Automate
Can this task be automated?

If yes, automate.
If no, go to Q4.

Q4  – Delegate
Can this task be delegated?

If yes,delegate.
If no, identify what needs to happen in order to delegate it.

Go through this process every time, and there should not be much left for you to do! Great result! This adds long term value to your business and your life. Repetitive tasks, or tasks that aren’t streamlined, are of least value, yet most often clutter entrepreneurs’ lives.

For instance, look over your recent past tasks. Start with looking at the last week in your diary – at those meetings, phone calls, conferences, visits, projects or whatever has filled your time. Go beyond the appointments listed in the diary and remember the work tasks you have been actually doing in that time; or the projects your business has been engaged in. Task by task:

  • Which of them could you have eliminated completely? Which were either a waste of your time, or did not offer enough value in return for your investment. What does this teach you for the future?
  • What could have simplified things? What systems, processes, resources or people need to be developed or utilised to make such tasks and work much more effective, efficient, easy and effective in future?
  • What could you have automated? How can you set up systems, machinery, methods or processes that mean that you don’t even have to be involved? What can you do, so that it all happens ‘automatically’?
  • What could you have delegated? And to whom? Who could do it faster, better, more efficiently? Do you already have someone in place to whom you can delegate such work – or do you need to outsource, or employ someone?

If you do this exercise for your past week, or the past six months – imagine how useful this is when you apply the learning and project your vision out into the next week or six months.

What will best cut your workload, save you time, effort and money – AND get you even better results, profits, efficiencies or performance? And a better quality of life, too!

  • How can you use this process to your advantage?
  • How can you apply this thinking to your work in the future, in very practical ways?
  • What changes will you need to make?
  • What needs to happen, to put these practical ideas into action?

Every repetitive or low value task you eradicate gets you one step closer to where you want to be.

Every moment you free up can be used more productively to achieve your goals and liberate yourself for greater things – like being incredible!

Further Reading:

The Four Hour Week by Tim Ferris (Amazon Link UK, US)

Getting Things Done by David Allen (Amazon Link UK, US)

If you are interested in working with me to help you tackle this issue then contact my assistant to arrange a meeting getintouch@marcwinn.com

If the above topic, or indeed any of my blogs are of interest to you, then contact me and let’s talk! Drop me an email at getintouch@marcwinn.com.

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add a comment
  1. Nice to see the best tips put together in one neat package – thank you!

  2. I thought this blog post was awesome! That is a really practical framework for simplifying so much. Thanks!

  3. Jancy Mathew says

    Very useful n to the point
    Lord give me wisdom to put into practice

  4. How could 200+ hate this, some people are just never satisfied with anything at all no matter what you do… Plus, anything really good occasions some hate mail I guess so those votes are really just a testament to the quality info. provided. Great work, nice and clear, everyone can understand and use this tool.

  5. I came across this blog a little bit late (7 years after it was published) but I love the fact that the message conveyed still applies today. If I apply this knowledge, I will achieve more in life and grow as an entrepreneur.
    Thanks, Marc Winn.

  6. This is the most brilliant thing I have read on productivity in a long time! So simple yet brilliant. Thank you for your insight

  7. I seriously believe if you follow this framework for every task on your to-do list, for self-improvement or for business, that you can succeed at anything. People never think of other ways to accomplish the task. Adopting this process pretty much forces you to do that.

  8. Hey Marc,

    I liked the way you have explained it, simple yet effective.

    I think this will cut our our to-do list in half and we can make our as well as others’ lives better.

    Thanks for the post and keep inspiring people.

    Yogesh Shinde

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