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Too much on your plate? Here's how to clear time in your day. Today

Hi there, Last week I announced this newsletter, but now it’s official: we’re off! You’re part of the

Work in Progress

September 23 · Issue #1 · View online
The newsletter about work

Hi there,
Last week I announced this newsletter, but now it’s official: we’re off! You’re part of the exclusive launch team for Work in Progress, so thanks, and enjoy this first issue.

A friend of mine turned me on to The Productivity Show, a podcast from Asian Efficiency. More specifically, the retreat episode with Mike Schmitz and Brooks Duncan, which I loved listening to. Here are these two guys all excited about their own personal version of an annual review. This morning, I added two of their techniques to my own bag of tricks.
You can try them out today.
Pick one thing to stop doing
I love doing more and more things, but there are limits of course. At some point your calendar fills up and you’ve got to clear some space before you can fit in new projects. That’s generally a good thing: a full schedule means you’re forced to make conscious choices.
But it can also mean that spontaneity now takes too much time (because you first have to negotiate with yourself to adjust your schedule). You can end up missing out on all the fun stuff. The solution? Build more white space into your calendar. And then guard it like the precious resource it is. After all, it’s what empowers you to say, “Yes, I’d love to!” to that exciting new opportunity or outing.
In The Productivity Show, the guys talk about doing this during what they call their “personal retreat”. But you can do it right now. Pick one thing to stop doing. I’ve just added this exercise to my quarterly review, because I can already tell this will be key.
Stopping is never easy. Especially when your choice is likely to disappoint other people. In the podcast, one of the guys introduces a brilliant tool that can help: the chopping block.
Put it on the chopping block
Thinking about what to scrap can be complicated. You may find yourself dreading what happens next – the difficult conversations you’ll have to have, the people you may disappoint.
The chopping block takes care of that. 
With your virtual chopping block, you don’t have to decide what to scrap just yet. You take the things that no longer excite you and put them on the block. For now. What are the things you once committed to doing but which you no longer enjoy? 

Put them on the chopping block. 

Look at your calendar. Are there items where you feel the energy draining out of you just by looking at them? 

Put them on your chopping block. 

The brilliant thing about the chopping block is that you don’t have to do anything else right away. The simple fact of naming what you may, at some point down the road, want to quit doing helps you pay attention to whether that feeling is true. You can get used to how it might feel – good or bad – to scrap something once and for all. 
So make a list: what’s going on your chopping block? Maybe there’s even something you can stop doing today. 
Have a good week!
PS You can find the podcast here. Jump straight to 28:13 to hear about how the chopping block works.
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