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7 Things You Should Add to Your Stop Doing List…Right Now!

7 Things You Should Add to Your Stop Doing List…Right Now!


    You probably make lists of things to do and follow them through. But what about the things you should stop doing? Successful people do not do the following things but chances are you still do. Make a decision to add these to your “stop doing list” these from today going forward:

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    1. Making Excuses. Successful people do not blame others or make excuses or complain about their bad luck. They take full responsibility for their lives. They know that success and failure lie in their hands. So stop being a victim, stop whining and stop making excuses.
    2. Drifting. Winners have a plan. They have a direction and a purpose. They do not drift through life hoping for the best. They set goals and then set about achieving them.  If you approach each day in a happy go lucky way then stop. Stop drifting and start planning. Develop a vision of a successful you. List what you have to do to get there. Plan your work then work your plan.
    3. Sitting in Front of a Computer All Day (or worse still…a TV). Sure there are some important things you can do sitting at your screen but do not spend all day there. Get out and meet people, network, learn. Do things with the people you want to lead or help or do business with.
    4. Putting Things Off. Procrastination is the enemy of success. Decide on your objective, list out the tasks you have to complete, prioritise them and then get on with the top ones. We all suffer the temptation to put off the jobs we fear or dislike.  Bite the bullet. Eat the frog. Do the job.
    5. Just the Easy Stuff. Which tasks do you spend most time on? The important, the urgent, the easy or the routine? If you spend most of your time on easy or less important tasks then stop. You should focus first on the most important jobs, the ones that will move you towards your strategic objective. You should delegate or ignore the low value activities.
    6. Sitting in Ineffective Meetings. Do you waste time at work in low-value meetings? Most office workers do. Every meeting should have a clear purpose, an agenda and a skilled chairperson who keeps the meting focussed on delivering its objectives.  Do not go to poor meetings – just ask for a summary of agreed actions.
    7. Limiting your Ambition. Successful people have enormous self-belief, drive and ambition. They hold themselves to high standards. Are you holding yourself back? Have you lost some of your self-belief and confidence? Start afresh. Set yourself ambitious goals. Remind yourself of your skills and achievements. Motivate yourself every day.

    If you can eliminate the low value activities and the negative things you do then you will free yourself to succeed. Stop doing the things that you know are wasting your time and start building your success.

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    (Photo credit: Stop via Shutterstock)

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

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    Last Updated on September 11, 2019

    Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

    Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

    How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

    Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

    To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

    Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

    Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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    • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
    • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
    • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
    • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

    Benefits of Using a To-Do List

    However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

    • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
    • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
    • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
    • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
    • You feel more organized.
    • It helps you with planning.

    4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

    Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

    1. Categorize

    Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

    It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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    2. Add Estimations

    You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

    Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

    Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

    3. Prioritize

    To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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    • Important and urgent
    • Not urgent but important
    • Not important but urgent
    • Not important or urgent

    You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

    Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

    4.  Review

    To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

    For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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    Bottom Line

    So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

    To your success!

    More to Help You Achieve More in Less Time

    Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

    Reference

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