To Do Or Not To Do: That Is The New Year’s Question

By Steve Fales

Jim Collins, author of Good To Great, studied companies that achieved and sustained extraordinary success. Then he found common traits among them. Here is one of Collins’ observations, as recorded in an interview in Business Week magazine:

“As I look at the most effective people we’ve studied, a ‘stop-doing’ list or ‘not-to-do’ list is more important than a to-do list, because the to-do list is infinite.”

A Not-To-Do list. Amazing! What a concept for a more rewarding way of living and working in 2017! What could it mean to your life and mine if we made a list of what not to do, and then stuck to it?

Those who make the most of their limited time understand that deciding what not to do is critical to focusing energies for the greatest impact. This mindset can be fruitful on both business and personal levels.

Cases in point …

Every e-mail does not require a response. (Use the “Delete” key.)

Every piece of mail does not have to be read. (Waste baskets come in handy.)

Every invitation does not have to be accepted. (Say “No.” Adding “but thanks for thinking of me” is acceptable as well.)

Of course saying “Yes” to the right things can be effective time management under the appropriate circumstances. But so often people reply “Yes” to the wrong things as their To-Do lists grow to unmanageable proportions.

Have you ever committed to something and later wished you hadn’t? You could put it on your Not-To-Do list for next time.

Have you noticed a time-wasting, dreaded, or even harmful habit or activity in your life? Maybe that should go on the Not-To-Do list as well.

After many years of navigating lengthy, multiple To-Do lists, I’ve seen how this innovative way of thinking positively affects my life. But I’ve got to stop writing now. There’s a new year ahead and I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff not to do.

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