Thanks to the magic of the Gregorian calendar, we’ve been gifted with an extra day in 2020. That’s right, it’s Leap Year once again, and February 29th is happening for the first time in four years.

There’s something special about an extra day, kind of like you’re cheating time. It’s a portal to something rare and full of potential.

While some take a whimsical approach to the day (just consider the Irish tradition of women proposing to men on February 29th back when it otherwise would have been unheard of), I’m a more practical guy. When I imagine having an extra day, I think about all the things I could accomplish that I’ve been putting off.

I’m sure I’m not the only one. We all have a list of tasks we’ve been meaning to get to, but somehow never find the time. Like a messy garage or disorganized linen closet in need of taming, these are problems that are annoying, but you can get away with ignoring them for at least a little while longer.

But not this month. This month we’ve been handed an opportunity to knock some items off our to-do lists, and we should seize it.

Seizing Leap Year

I know February 29 is on a Saturday when you’ll be away from the office, but that doesn’t mean you can’t carry the spirit of Leap Year into another day, tackling some of those risk management and compliance tasks you’ve been putting off.

Just think for a moment: If you had a free day with no meetings, no pressing deadlines, and no interruptions, what would you do? What is the number one thing you normally don’t carve out time for that you really want to get to?

Would you:

These tasks don’t necessarily take a long time, especially if you have tools to help you keep them organized, but they do require a few minutes of focus.

Finding the Time

Finding a whole day to deal with a backlog of wish list items might not be realistic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tackle any of the items deep down on your to-do list.

You don’t need to clear everything else off your to-do list to make time for a smaller task. You’ve probably got some really big, complicated tasks on your to-do list. As long as you’ve been making steady progress on these items, give yourself permission to spend one hour on a wish list item and make that hour count. Dive in with your full attention and see how much you get done.

If you are waiting for ideal conditions, like a free day or after a specific project gets done, it’s not going to happen. It’s far more feasible to carve out an hour or two.

See if automation can ease any of these tasks. While there is no substitute for going to lunch with a colleague, plenty of these tasks can be optimized with centralized reporting and data analysis. From complaint management to vendor incident reporting to findings, if these tasks are niggling at you, it could be worthwhile to spend some time investigating solutions. A few hours spent considering potential options could mean spending just minutes on these tasks down the road.

While there will never be enough hours in the day, it’s up to you to make those hours count and find ways to tackle those backburner tasks. It will lighten your psychic load.

And don’t forget to make the most of February 29th. It’ll be four years before you get another chance.

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