If you’re like me, you probably have a “to-do” list of some kind or another; and if not, why not? It might be part of a sophisticated online planning system, or written in a diary or notebook, or even scribbled on the back of an envelope.
However, I am now suggesting that you have a “don’t-do” list, or a ‘stop-doing’ list.
I once had an assistant who one day, proudly showed me her ‘to-do’ list with 54 activities on it!
In the time it took her to write this list, she could have completed 75% of the activities.
Get the magnifying glass out
If you have a huge to-do list, sit down and take a closer look at it. Ask yourself if you really need to do everything on that list.
Perhaps you have a colleague or a member of your team, or even a boss that you could delegate some of these tasks to?
Remember the saying – ‘Only do it if only you can do it’
There may even be activities on your list – and brace yourself – that you don’t really have to do at all!
Here’s another question to ask yourself:
‘Is what I’m doing now, getting me to where I want to get to; is it helping me to achieve my goals?’
If the answer is ‘No’ – STOP DOING IT!
Stick to the 80/20 rule
Remember the Pareto Principle, the old 80/20 rule! 80% of your results come from 20% of your activities. This means that the activities you do for 20% of your time need to be increased if you want to improve your results.
It worked for JK
I once read some background material on J.K. Rowling, the highly successful Harry Potter author. When she was writing her first book, she lived in a small apartment in Edinburgh. By her own admission, she didn’t spend too much time doing the domestic chores; she was much more concerned with getting her book finished and finding a publisher.
(I wrote my three books in Edinburgh, and I didn’t spend too much time doing the domestic chores either. But I was just lazy and my books only sell in the thousands, not millions – yet!)
Now I’m not suggesting that you work in a dirty or untidy environment, as that can only lead to inefficiency and poor work.
However, I am suggesting that you keep very focused on your goal, targets, ambitions, or whatever it is you call them, and only do what you need to do to achieve them.
Be like a stamp – stick to it till you get to your destination.
- JK Rowling ruled out of Scots’ favourite book poll (scotsman.com)
- The 3 Most Crucial Time Saving Strategies (by the way, they’re easy!) (lifehack.org)
- The JK Rowlings’ Method (robertjrgraham.com)