Photo Courtesy of Adobe StockNot everyone is a list person, but almost everyone has a to-do list of some kind, somewhere, even if it’s in their head. Some people use their calendar. Others use a trusty notepad or notebook. Others still, like me, look to technology to find the most effective and efficient method of managing the avalanche of stuff we need to deal with and ultimately take action upon. Some of us are trying to squeeze the maximum productivity out of every moment of every day. If we’re not careful we can become slaves to this mentality and wear ourselves out to the point at which we actually become a liability. Here’s a different angle. Do you have a stop doing list? There are likely things that you’re doing, that have become routine for you, but that are actually working against you. What’s one thing you need to stop doing? If you were to stop doing it, what would be the impact on your day, your week, or even your life? Let me elaborate…
A Great Stop Doing ListHere are three quick things that I almost certainly know belong on your stop doing list in some form or another. 1. Stop giving power to limiting beliefs. What are the things that you believe, mostly about yourself, your dreams, and your aspirations, that are holding you back? You need to realize that you are the one giving those things power over you. It’s time to reframe them or obliterate them. For example, one of my biggest limiting beliefs is that I don’t have enough time. I bet that’s on your list too. But, the plain fact is that it’s not true. What is true is that I don’t have time to do everything, but I do have time to do what’s most important. The problem comes when I refuse to decide what’s most important. As the old saying goes, if everything is important, then nothing is. See my blog post, “The Five Best Things to Do When You Don’t Have Enough Time.” One of my other big limiting belief is that I can’t say no. It feels absurd to even write that, but that’s how I feel when I perceive a need or receive a request that I know I have the ability to fulfill. The feeling is especially strong when I don’t see anyone else stepping up to fill the gap. I am definitely getting better at saying no, or at the very least not volunteering for things, but I have a long way to go to. Michael Hyatt has a great podcast on “How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty.” 2. Stop doing the things you should be delegating. We each have a unique set of tasks that are really within our sweet spot and are the things that we can best do for the organization. But, we often get sidetracked with a torrent of other tasks that we gravitate to for a variety of reasons. Either way, we need to work hard at identifying the short list of things we do best and which the organization most needs from us and stay focused on those things. Everything else should be delegated. Everything. I know that’s easier said than done, but I believe effective delegation is one of the top five essential skills for organizational leaders. I have a great podcast that talks about this in a lot more detail. It’s called, “Five Essential Skills to Being a Great Leader.” Listen now.
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock3. Stop doing the things that are keeping you from what’s most important. Not only are limiting beliefs keeping us from what’s most important, but many other things get in the way. The #1 thing I encounter personally, and with many of my clients, is that of becoming a slave to our email and other forms of messaging. That has to change or we’ll never become as effective as we could be. Another thing we need to stop is doing what is easy instead of what is important. This affects almost everyone at one time or another. Some of us struggle with it constantly. I’ve learned that I tend to value completion over progress. So, I will naturally tend to do things that I can get done quickly and easily so I can check them off my list. Most of that stuff isn’t high priority and, as such, is a distraction I need to ignore. I’ve implemented a new practice that helps me with this. I begin the day by identifying what absolutely must be done today. I put that on a special list and then discipline myself to only look at that list until all of the items are complete. Then I am free to look at the rest of my to-dos. I’m not perfect with this, but making a lot of progress and really enjoying the benefits.
Stop doing what you should be delegating.