Here’s a liberating truth for your time management journey: not every task that crosses your path is worth your time.

When collecting, organizing, prioritizing, and scheduling your tasks into an effective to-do list, you can’t overlook the need to filter out any unnecessary or unhelpful tasks. The filtering aspect of task management is vital, yet often overlooked. If you don’t filter, you’ll waste time on tasks that don’t help you achieve your goals, or worse yet, hinder your progress!

High achievers spend most of their time on the tasks that matter. Each unnecessary task that isn’t removed takes away time from activities that propel your career forward and allow you to reach your potential! Let’s dive into efficient time management tips that will help you stop wasting time on unproductive tasks.

Efficient Time Management Tips: How to Filter Your To-Do List by Removing Unproductive Tasks

Here are the 4 tasks that you can remove from your to-do list to avoid wasting time:


What are your ten most important values? If you’re unclear about your priorities, you’ll end up spending time on projects and activities that aren’t aligned with what matters to you most.

Believe it or not, you may have tasks on your to-do list that directly compete with your priorities. Each individual task doesn’t take up much time, so it can be easy to overlook this. However, all these small tasks add up! Over time, you’ll spend hours on tasks that aren’t aligned with your values.

Filtering Question One: “Are there any tasks that don’t align with my values?”

For example, let’s say that honesty and positivity are two of your core values. One of the tasks on your list is to attend Book Club, even though you know you’ll spend 20 minutes listening to everyone gossip and complain before any literary intricacy of Jane Eyre is discussed. “Attending book club” is one task that can be removed or replaced by “call the book club leader to have an honest conversation about the club culture.”

Dare to ruthlessly eliminate any task that competes with your values. Your time is your most valuable asset; don’t waste it on anything you don’t believe in.


If a task takes longer than 20 minutes to complete, it’s considered a Project. You can’t accomplish a Project, these need to be broken down into Micro-Actions: tasks that can be completed in 20 minutes or less. If you can’t break it down into smaller steps, your Project is not yet ready for action. It should be filtered out from your to-do list until you have a clear idea of what it requires to complete it.

Filtering Question Two: “What needs to be broken down into smaller steps?”

Learn more about the importance of defining and scheduling important tasks in this free planning class with time management expert Allyson Lewis. It includes a free downloadable template!


Are there any repeating tasks on your list that can be automated? Technology provides a myriad of automation options to take tasks off your plate.

Filtering Question Three: “Am I the person who needs to complete this task?”

If you find yourself with more work or clients than you have time, it may be time to hire a virtual assistant, a cleaner, or administrative help to free up some of your time so you can focus on the tasks only you can do.

If you share a household or work in a team, delegating a task could look like identifying any tasks on your list that would take you a lot of effort, but are low effort (or even fun!) for someone else. You could exchange tasks or simply ask for a favor.

One unexpected benefit is that this filtering step invites you to hang your Supersuit on the hook. Sometimes, delegating means admitting you can’t keep all those plates spinning by yourself. Asking for help is a sign of strength and self-awareness, not weakness.


Procrastination doesn’t always look like mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Creating busy work or endlessly preparing for a project without taking action are two common forms of procrastination that often go unnoticed.

Filtering Question Four: Are there tasks on this list I don’t need to do? Is this producing forward motion or is this busywork?

If you can’t think of a significant, negative consequence of leaving a task unfinished, it’s busy work that can be filtered out.

The 7 Minute Life University includes in-depth classes and is packed full of time management tips and strategies to ensure you’re not just getting more done, but getting more of the right things done. A few examples of questions 7 Minute Life members ask themselves during the morning routine:

  • Does this task need to be completed today? Do I have enough time to finish the task today?
  • Is the Project this task is a part of still relevant to my goals and priorities?
  • Do I have the resources and skills I need to accomplish this successfully or do I need to further prepare before I take action?
  • What does DONE look like? How will I know when I am finished?
  • Does this task make me more money?
  • Learn more about this by getting access to the Class Library and live trainings included in the 7 Minute Life online membership.


The Daily Progress Report is a powerful tool designed to enhance your time management and task-filtering process. This comprehensive tool helps you track your daily activities, prioritize tasks, and filter out unproductive ones. You can download this valuable resource for free using this form, allowing you to immediately start implementing effective task-filtering techniques and optimizing your productivity.

Take control of your to-do list and achieve your goals with the Daily Progress Report.


Filtering your to-do list using these four categories of removable tasks can be challenging. When in doubt, put the task on the Unfinished Task List. Return to that list later to look at it with a fresh perspective, but don’t let the task clutter up your essential to-do list in the meantime.

Another method to help yourself with task removal is to compare worst-case scenarios. Ask yourself:

What’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t do this task?

Write down your answer and immediately ask yourself the next question:

What’s the worst that could happen if I do spend time completing this task if it’s not necessary or helpful?

Compare the two answers. If you realize that the cost of accomplishing it is higher than the risk of a negative consequence when the task is left unfinished, you can safely assume the task can be removed from your to-do list.

Attempt to eliminate at least 20% of your to-do list every time you create one. This crucial editing process will help you develop a laser sharp focus on the tasks that matter most.

Your goals will thank you later.


  1. How can time management help me filter my to-do list and avoid wasting time?
    Time management involves effectively organizing and prioritizing tasks, which includes filtering out unnecessary or unproductive tasks from your to-do list. By implementing time management strategies, you can focus on tasks that align with your priorities and goals, ensuring you make the most of your time.
  2. What are some time management tips to manage my time more effectively?
    To manage your time more effectively, start by clearly defining your priorities and values. Break down larger tasks into smaller, actionable steps that can be completed in 20 minutes or less. Consider automating or delegating tasks that can be handled by others, and ensure that each task contributes to your goal achievement.
  3. How do I determine if a task competes with my priorities?
    Evaluate each task on your to-do list and compare it with your values and priorities. Ask yourself if the task aligns with what matters to you most. If it conflicts with your core values or takes away time from more important tasks, it may need to be removed or replaced with a more aligned task.
  4. Why is it important to break down tasks that take longer than 20 minutes to complete?
    Tasks that take longer than 20 minutes are considered projects and should be broken down into smaller, manageable steps known as micro-actions. Breaking tasks into micro-actions helps you accurately estimate time, maintain clarity, and prevent feeling overwhelmed. It also allows for better scheduling and allocation of time.
  5. Can I delegate or automate tasks to improve time management?
    Yes, delegating or automating tasks can significantly improve time management. Identify tasks that can be handled by others or automated through technology. This frees up your time to focus on tasks that require your unique skills and expertise, increasing overall productivity and efficiency.
  6. How do I determine if a task is essential for goal achievement?
    Evaluate each task and consider its contribution to your overall goals. If a task doesn’t directly contribute to goal achievement or if its absence wouldn’t have a significant negative consequence, it may be considered unnecessary or busywork. Prioritize tasks that align with your goals and eliminate those that don’t add value.
  7. What is the benefit of filtering my to-do list and removing unproductive tasks?
    Filtering your to-do list helps you prioritize tasks that align with your values, goals, and priorities. By removing unproductive tasks, you create more space and time to focus on meaningful and impactful activities. This approach improves productivity, reduces stress, and helps you achieve your goals more efficiently.
  8. How much of my to-do list should I aim to eliminate through filtering?
    Aim to eliminate at least 20% of your to-do list each time you create one. This editing process helps you focus on the most important tasks and avoid unnecessary clutter. By regularly filtering your to-do list, you develop a sharper focus on tasks that truly matter and increase your chances of goal achievement.
  9. How can effective time management benefit my overall goals in the long run?
    Effective time management ensures that you allocate your time and energy to tasks that align with your goals. By filtering out unproductive tasks, managing your time efficiently, and maintaining focus on meaningful activities, you increase your chances of achieving your goals, experiencing personal growth, and finding fulfillment in your endeavors.
  10. Where can I find additional time management tips, resources, and support?
    To access further time management resources and support, consider joining The 7 Minute Life University. It offers in-depth classes, filtering exercises, time management tips and strategies, and a community of like-minded individuals focused on effective time management. Additionally, you can download the free Daily Progress Report and start filtering your to-do list today.

If you truly want to improve your time management, filtering and eliminating unproductive tasks from your to-do list is the best way to start. By breaking down larger tasks, delegating or automating tasks, and focusing on essential activities, you can optimize your productivity and achieve better results. Implementing these strategies will help you develop sharp focus, make the most of your time, and propel you towards success.

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