Time-Optimized Task Design

What does your task list look like right now? Do you even have one?

Let’s walk through mine for today.

  • Review book marketing project
  • Follow-up emails to clients.
  • Work on social media schedule
  • Follow-up calls with clients.
  • Complete weekly blog.
  • Clean out, wash, and wax the car
  • Read daily Scripture passage and pray
  • Review Google analytics
  • Complete business proposal for prospect
  • Take wife out to dinner

I’ve got 10 of them listed in no particular order. I could simply start at the top and work my way down. I might find the easiest and work on those, looking to knock off some before the day gets started. The challenge for many is that the list can create anxiety because it may look like there is not enough time in the day to complete the tasks. It is the cause for many to not even want to create a list at all.

In my book The Time-Optimized Life, I devote an entire chapter to what I call “Time-Optimized Task Design.” It is a way for you to look at tasks as an opportunity for greater productivity, not a listing of stress induced pursuits. So, let’s walk through my list to show you how you might apply the process to your own.

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Identify Personal and Professional

Yes – I fully encourage you to combine both personal and professional duties. If a task is going to take up your time (during work hours or not), it needs to be seen. In my case, here is what that looks like.


After allocating, then decide and rank the most important to the least. When I did that, here is how things stack up.

Estimated Time

I now need to understand the time it is going to take to try and complete these activities. Check out my estimates.

Notice how I have planned for myself over eleven hours of activity. I have my entire business day filled with tasks I want to get done. Now, I already have two hours of meetings scheduled on my calendar, so unless I sacrifice some of my personal time, I am over committed right now.

The Most Important

I know need to challenge myself on what is most important for the day that must get done. In this case, I mark it with a star.

I have identified and highlighted the tasks that are most important. In addition to what other items come up for the day, I am committed to do what I must to accomplish these.

So, what happens if I get them done and there is still time? I will jump onto the secondary things and see what I can get done. However, before I even begin, I am going to see if I should go ahead and reschedule to another day.

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Move Them Forward

Be realistic and honor your time. If the day is just too full and you are not going to be able to accomplish everything, save yourself time now and into the future, and reschedule them to another time. Don’t default to the next day, really try and determine when the best outlook is for getting them done. In my case, there is no way I can clean the car. I pushed that out to the weekend, where it should have been in the first place. The Goggle Analytics can wait, and I moved that a few days ahead, but know it will be higher on the priority list.

Evaluate As the Day Goes

I am now ready to jump into the day, working on the most important items, with enough flexibility to do more if needed. But wait. You need to continue to evaluate and prioritize throughout the entire day. There might be a change in the list. You could add something new. This exercise is a continuous one. Addressing circumstances as they arise continues to bring a sense of reality and reduces future tension because you choose to address them as soon as possible.

Learn about Time-Optimized Planning

Join me on Wednesday 02/14/24 on LinkedIn where I will discuss Time-Optimized Planning, highlighted in Chapter 3 of The Time-Optimized Life.

If you would like to learn more about Time-Optimized Task Design, along with a variety of other time-optimized techniques, preorder my book The Time-Optimized Life. To get a flavor, download chapter 1 for free and be registered to win a signed hard copy or a free e-book.

David Buck is the author of the book “The Time-Optimized Life, owner of Kairos Management Solutions, LLC, and founder of the Infinity Lifestyle Design program. As a certified professional retirement coach (CPRC), David works with financial services providers helping their clients create a post-career lifestyle strategy. To learn more, contact him at dave@kmstime.com or visit Infinity Lifestyle Design.

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