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Create a 'NOT-to-do-list'

Success comes from doing the right things (and doing the things right). And it is understandable that making notes will help you to make sure you do everything you had planned for.

Such a list of notes ensures that you work effectively: you are more organized, you won’t forget anything and so you get more peace of mind because you do not have to remember everything; therefore it both saves time and improves the quality of your work.

That is why many successful people make a To-do-list. They see it as one of the most important tools for planning work.

The big risk is that there is so much to do that the To-do-list grows faster than you would like.

The To-do-list will become a series of temporary and fleeting actions. Hence, the To-do-list will never be distinctively focussing on achieving structurally your ambitious goals.

In order to successfully realize your plans and goals, it is important to make good use of your available time and therefore an important question is whether you should do all those things on your To-do-list? And if so, should you do them right now?

Success also comes from NOT doing things! Either consciously or unconsciously.

It is very enlightening if you explicitly put on paper which things you no longer want to deal with: the so-called NOT-to-do list.

Some examples to put on a NOT-to-do-list could be:

  • Striving for power (in your company).

  • Worrying about things that you cannot control.

  • Postponing important tasks.

  • Saying yes when you mean no, or immediately saying "yes" to a request.

  • Multitasking.

  • Keep doing things yourself that you could also delegate.

  • Become excessively irritated by the minor annoyances of your colleagues.

You recognize this?

By putting such items on your NOT-to-do-list, you already eliminate a large number of things that you no longer find relevant, and as a result you will notice that you can be much more involved in passionately executing your mission. (Flow, being in the moment).

A NOT-to-do-list helps to unlearn habits and behaviour that hinder your productivity and therefore gives you more energy. The hidden danger of such habits and behaviour is that you may do this unconsciously. Hence, you have to keep telling yourself: “Stop this”. If not, you will keep on doing it without being aware of it.

Do you notice that a NOT-to-do-list largely determines your success and happiness?

How do you create a NOT-to-do-list?

In general, things that cost energy and yield nothing are suitable for the Not-to-do-list.

Set a number of priorities for yourself by asking yourself: "What do I love to do? What am I good at? How meaningful are these activities for myself and my business? How does it contribute to the success of me and my company?"

(This is also the Japanese Ikigai principle).

Everything that has no added value or that is not useful for yourself and/or your business can go straight to the NOT-to-do-list and you no longer pay attention to it.

Write down what you should do and determine from that list:

  • What is not my responsibility?

  • What do I have no control over?

  • What is not urgent? (Use the Eisenhower model)

  • What is not important? (Use the Eisenhower model)

  • What do I do to actually please someone?

  • What can I delegate?

  • What has no impact or value?

Also, list everything that has already been done or should no longer be done.

Then you can find out if certain things can be done in a simpler way, or if you can do it in a way that you have more fun.

The result is (1) a short and powerful To-Do-List, which only lists tasks that are relevant and (2) an important NOT-to-do-list of tasks that you won't do anymore, for good reasons.

For the coming two weeks choose 2 items from your NOT-to-do-list and stick to them. Take two minutes every day to carefully read through your list over a cup of coffee, concentrate on the 2 selected items and let it sink in. Thanks to those two minutes you have energy for the rest of the day. That may take some effort at first, but it will get better and better. (By the way: rewarding yourself if you succeed won’t harm you!)

THE GOLDEN NUGGET IS ……. You can also share with your colleagues and with your environment your ambition to stop doing less valuable things. It will help in creating an understanding.

There is much more to tell you about creating a NOT-To-Do-List. Please contact me if you would like to get more information or you would like to be coached on being focused and disciplined by NOT doing particular things.


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