Make More Time by Dropping Tasks

posted by Andrea | 07/29/2013
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water drop

Last year, I  wrote a post about 5 choices when you’re short on time. The 5 choices I mentioned were:

  1. Get stressed out, worry, and lose sleep.
  2. Streamline the activities so they take less time.
  3. Steal time from another activity.
  4. Find someone else to do the tasks for you.
  5. Drop the tasks completely.

Out of all of those options, the least popular (and often the most difficult to do) is #5.

However, in my experience, dropping a task that I don’t have the time or energy for can be SO freeing — and exactly what I need to simplify.

It might be something as small as deciding not to vacuum or clean the bathrooms because it’s not really necessary and I know there are plenty of other more important things I could be doing with my time. Or it might be something as big as changing a business or life goal because of circumstances out our control.

Over the years, Dave and I have dropped several activities in order to make more time for things that are important to us at that point in our lives — work, family, home renovations, etc.

In fact, just a couple weeks ago, I shared a few things I’ve purposely dropped and don’t make time for at this point in my life. I’m not implying that no one should make time for those specific activities, or that they’re not important; I’m just saying that right now, it doesn’t make sense for ME to spend MY time on those activities when there are so many other things that need more of my time and attention.

Obviously, there are some things we can’t just drop — like our jobs and our families 🙂 — but if we really stop and think about it, there are most likely MANY things we do on a daily and weekly basis mainly because we feel pressured or guilted into doing them… or maybe it’s just me!

We feel like we HAVE to say yes to housework because company is coming over.

We feel like we HAVE to say yes to another committee or volunteer opportunity.

We feel like we HAVE to say yes to more hours or another project at work.

We feel like we HAVE to say yes to making fancy treats for our kids’ school because the other moms do to.

I could go on and on.

The point is that if we just stop and think about all the things we do each day, I’m guessing that there are at least a few things we can drop to open up a little more breathing room in our schedules.

I know from experience that the Fall months are some of the busiest months — with back-to-school, all the committees and programs starting up for the year, and then the holidays are here. Sometimes I feel like the last few months of the year leave me breathless.

And while some of the busyness in our lives is caused by activities we really DO have to do, there are plenty of other things we don’t have to do. So although there’s still another whole month of Summer left (believe me, I’m not trying to rush anything!) I figure it might not be a bad idea for us all to start thinking about a few ways we might be able to make more time by dropping some tasks that don’t have to be done.

I know that whenever I’ve dropped a task, I’ve always felt a sense of relief afterward — which is almost as nice as the extra time in my schedule!

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    I agree completely. One thing I dropped recently was trips to the library. I love reading and love going to the library. But I found it was stressing me out trying to get the books back on time. So finally I realized that this was not the right time for me to be making regular trips to the library. So I stopped. I have a Kindle and can check books out on my Kindle. I also look for the free books available for download on Amazon. So I’m still reading – I just freed myself from library runs.

    I also don’t try to go to multiple grocery stores. I know that’s a great strategy for saving money on the food budget but right now I can’t fit it in. I feel guilty sometimes but I can only do so much and shopping at one store is a lot less stressful.

    Great post.


    Andrea Reply:

    I’ve never been a huge library person — maybe when Nora and future kids get older, but right now, I mostly just read stuff I can get on line. And I totally hear you about the multiple grocery stores. I used to LOVE going to so many different stores, using my coupons and getting the best deals, but after Nora was born, I just decided it was something that was not worth my time anymore. I’m spending a little more on groceries now but saving SOOOOO much time — and at this point, that amount of time I’m saving is worth the extra costs 🙂


  4. Stacey B.


    Sometimes it’s so freeing to just not buy the things on your list and to just not say yes or not go somewhere…just to see what happens. And usually, nothing does. Eye-opener! Thanks for the reminder, for sure….


  5. Janice


    You are so right, Andrea! Good for you that you have addressed this issue. Sometimes it helps if we just hear someone say that it’s okay to evaluate our lives and eliminate things that do not HAVE to be done right now. I am a retired high school teacher, mother of 2, grandmother of 6 , and my husband and I are about to celebrate 44 years of marriage so I can tell you I’ve been down the bumpy road of self-imposed expectations of perfection. I have found that it’s NOT a sin to say “no” to volunteer situations and/or housework chores, etc, etc, etc. The best thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to live a whole lifetime of activities at one season of time. The Bible gives some wise counsel in the words “this one thing I do.” We do not do well by trying to do it all. Thankfully, my husband has always been a proponent of moderation in all things. Girl, you are one of the most practical, common sense women around. And you are starting out your life so young with all this wisdom. Keep reminding us that there are seasons of life. You’re good at it!