How's your to-do list looking today? Lot's of really important stuff that you must get done to keep things moving on the work and home front? I get it. I have one too (or a few, actually). It can be a good feeling to start that new list and to tick things off it as they get completed. Little hit of the reward hormone dopamine to make us happy, and on to the next.
But what I would also like you think about is what can come off the list. Yes, you heard me. I want you to think about your 'Stop Doing' list. Not many people have one of these, but it can be one the most simple, effective and potentially game changing productivity (and sanity) tips that I know.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Stop checking email relentlessly. When you are stuck in the habit of checking your email every 10 minutes as many of us do, a few things happen. You get very reactive. You never get into your flow as you are constantly interrupting yourself. And you are setting up a system where you are at other people's beck and call -- they know you will get back them pronto, so they keep asking for stuff. Get into a new habit of only checking email a few times a day, at set intervals. Maybe first thing in the morning, lunchtime, and before you head off at the end of the day. Only you can determine the frequency, but the important thing is to stop being reactive and making yourself a slave to the email and find what works best. Oh, and turn off those pesky email alerts that flash up on your screen. It makes it almost impossible to change this habit.
2. Stop multitasking. It doesn't work, the science proves it, and you will always be just one step behind your A game unless you train yourself to focus and complete what you are working on. Try it today and see how you feel. If you need to, give yourself small windows of pure focus time on a project, say 30 minutes, and then continually build up your muscles. Eventually multi-tasking, which is really what I call micro-switching, will be a thing of the past.
3. Stop saying yes when you mean to say no. Oh yes, I said it. And I meant it. We are all so busy, it's true, and I can wear my busyness badge with the best of them. But we are busy with what we said yes to already. When we say yes when we really want to say no, we are putting other people's needs ahead of our own. Now sometimes, that is unfortunate but necessary, like when your boss needs something or it's one of your kids. There are exceptions. But as a general rule in your life, you need to start getting clear on what you really want, and start practicing the art of saying no. No, I can't do that right now. No, sorry, I can't take that work on. No, I just-really-don't-want-to!!! It is an art, and it takes some work. But I know you can do it.
So, those are three major joy robbers right there. Here are a few other quick ideas that might get your stop juices flowing:
4. Stop eating crap for breakfast that makes you feel slow and grumpy all day.
5. Stop staying up all night working, thinking it is making you more productive. It's not.
6. Stop hesitating before speaking up in meetings. You know your stuff. Say it out loud.
7. Stop saying sorry for everything under the sun. Unless you really mean it. And it needs to be said.
8. Stop checking your social media feeds every two minutes. And have a feed free day at least once a week. Doesn't need an explanation. You won't die.
9. Stop hoarding stuff you no longer need. Clear your space. Get rid of the crap and the junk, the old magazines and things you don't use. Clear the way for new energy.
10. Stop letting your day pass by without doing the most important things in your life that make your soul sing; write, paint, meditate, run, breathe, connect. And just be.
So, what's on your Stop Doing List? I would love to know. Drop me a comment below and declare it now.
Until next time,
You've got this.