There are basically two types of tasks that comprise your day, circle and line tasks.
Circular tasks are routine, things that you accomplish but they do not necessarily move you forward. Routine chores are circular tasks – tasks such as washing dishes, yardwork, running errands. They are generally easy to accomplish, often through mind and muscle memory and there is really no learning involved, save for revisiting tasks with more efficient processes.
Conversely straight line tasks are tasks that are non-routine and move you forward in some way. Straight line tasks may include learning a new skill or trade, inventing a new product or service, building a business, deep thought or reflection, among others. These tasks are often quite difficult and often result in exploring uncharted territory, at least for you, the individual. Basically straight line tasks involve stepping outside your comfort zone and doing something new.
Circular tasks should have an emphasis on efficiency and minimization. Review the circular tasks and reflect on if they even need to be accomplished. Sometimes people go through the motions of a given task or activity for years without knowing why they do it. Likewise, the circular tasks that must be accomplished should be reviewed for efficiency. Is there a more efficient way of accomplishing a circular task? Seemingly innocuous time savings add up quickly. As you grow your business there may come a point where time is more valuable than money, it may be more efficient to even consider outsourcing tasks such as meal preparation and cooking to free up your time for straight line tasks at that point.
As much time as possible should be spent on straight line tasks. Each new skill learned will open new potential opportunities. Each new product or service you create will be another potential stream of income. Each period of deep thought and reflection that you undertake may lead to a groundbreaking insight or idea that has the potential to revolutionize your business and your life.
Consider your life as an hourglass and the sand within as the moments of your life. How would you like to spend that time as the sand transitions through the hourglass? How much of your day, or life, is spent on routine and rote repetition? How much is spent on exploring new territory and exciting possibilities? How will things change if you are spending your time on the same things and not exploring? You cannot do the same things over and over again and expect different results. Some have called this the definition of insanity.
Minimize circular tasks and maximize straight line tasks.
1. Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged: