Stop So You Can Go
This is the third in a series of posts that tackle the most misunderstood and under utilized skill in business environments. Leadership is influence and the difference between being good and being great.
Chasing your dream takes a lot of grit, courage, and a go-go-go attitude. There are things that must be done so that you can get to the next level or the next step. Everyone has a To-Do List, an Action List, a grocery list, and so on. It helps keep you on track and keeps you focused on your day. What you may not realize, though, is that there is an equally, if not more, important list that you should attend to. This list does more than identify what you should be doing next. It tells you what to avoid, how to maximize your time, and how to be more productive. We call this the Stop Doing List.
What is a Stop Doing List?
A Stop Doing List does exactly what the name says. It’s a list of things that you should stop doing because:
It takes up too much of your time.
It hinders your progress.
It renders you ineffective.
It can be delegated to someone else.
Any or all of the above.
The Stop Doing List helps us prioritize the important over the urgent. When I first started putting together my own Stop Doing List, the #1 thing on it was to stop spending so much time on emails. I used to spend a tremendous amount of time on writing and responding to emails. It’s the perfectionist in me. I know that I’m not talking to that person face-to-face so I want the email to be just right in terms of tone and wording. I realized that I was not able to accomplish a lot of my tasks because the emails were taking up so much time. My priority should be on the tasks, not the emails. Yet, the emails took the lion share of my precious time. Month after month, my goals were pushed to the following month because I didn’t have time for them in that particular month. Now, I check emails once in the morning and, maybe, once at night. That’s it. And, it’s working. I’m getting a lot more done because I’ve put those constraints on my work day. It has allowed me to flourish and be a lot more productive.
How Do I Know What Goes on the Stop Doing List?
Reflection is one of the best ways to find out what should go on your Stop Doing List. This is a great exercise that anyone can do, and you don’t even have to spend a lot of time on it. When I first started, I used to reflect once a month. It became a daily practice when I decided that I really wanted to get to the root of what was holding me back.
If you don’t have a lot of time, you can set a timer to keep yourself on track. Pen and paper will be handy for jotting down your thoughts; a journal is a great way to keep track of your reflections. Sit back, breathe, and ask yourself these questions:
What am I doing?
How am I spending my time?
Are there things that I need to stop doing?
What went well today?
What didn’t go well today?
What did I wish went well today?
What could have made my day better? Or, more productive?
What did I hate? Why did I hate it?
What really bugs me about today?
What is bothering me?
Your answers to these questions can help reveal the things that you need to stop doing.
If you hate filling out forms, is there an administrative assistant who can take that off your hands?
If you spend too much time attending to your subordinates’ complaints, can you set specific hours for feedback sessions?
If you’d like to learn more about Reflection and how it can help you, then click here to read our article on it. And, while we’re on the subject, here’s another thing that you should Stop Doing.
According to American entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn, you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So, it’s also good to reflect on the people in your life. More specifically, reflect on the people who has been a lid-lifter in your life. And, if there are people who seem more intent on keeping the lid on you, then maybe they should also go on your Stop Doing List.
These are people who have helped you achieve your goals, or encouraged you on your endeavors. Not all lid-lifters are cheerleaders, though. Some may have helped lift your lid by giving you some hard advice or constructive criticism.
Here are a couple of questions to help you reflect on the people in your life.
What characteristics make them a lid-lifter?
Who is helping you to achieve your goals?
Who supports you and your goals?
Who is interested in seeing you improve or win or advance?
Who is adding to your life?
For some of you, the more important question is “Who is taking away from your life?”
The answer to those questions should be very clear in your mind. My hope is that you really surround yourself with lid-lifters: people that add value to you, people that care about you, people that want to see you succeed. But, the reality is we don’t always have that.
Some of the closest people in our lives may care about us, but they’re invested in us staying at a particular level.
They’re invested in that. They like you like that. So, they may not be open to you doing something different, growing to a higher level.
But, the question doesn’t change. Who’s adding to your value? Who’s lifting you? If you’re not sure, then it might be time to stop, reflect, and take a look around. Look at where you are and what you have accomplished. Then, look down. Because the reason why you’re on top right now might be because you’re standing on the shoulders of giants. And, that’s right where you’ll find your lid-lifters.
Let’s Raise the Lid
I’ve worked with a lot of people, helping them to become better versions of themselves and realizing their Leadership Abilities by being a lid lifter in their lives. Success may not come in a day, but it will come.
If you’re interested in raising your lid and becoming the best leader that you can be, then click here for a quick and friendly chat on how I can help you. No strings attached. No purchase necessary. Just drop me a note. I am more than happy to share my thoughts and insights with you.
Have an extraordinary day! And, remember - Excellence is a Habit.
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