Do I have to do this now?
I am a SAP consultant with quite a broad experience and also, I do like to dive into anything that is interesting. (I think lots of you will recognize this). For this, it can happen that you get lots of questions and requests and never say no. Also when you are not the person to be asked.
This does come with some problems, for a large part on the social part of things: You take over someone else work, and this does bite you in the back some day. But also practical, you make something really really nice, and then you find out it is for one-time use only. Or your workload becomes unmanageable.
To solve this, I ask myself now the question: Do I have to do this now?
I do this, anytime work comes around. This can be in a meeting, in the mail, a phonecall or in the support software.
In this sentence, every word is a separate question.
Do: Is it something that really needs doing, or is this just information?
I: am I the right person to do this?
Have to: Is it really something that has to be done, or is this a request that can be put on the large pile of requests that will never be executed?
This: Is that what you are asking, really what you want? Or is that a strangely formulated question or request?
now: Does this need doing now?
As you can see, by answering these questions, you are both improving the specification, as also reducing workload.
Does someone else use a phrase like this to improve your day to day work?