When people think about productivity and performance, they often think about how many items they accomplished and crossed off on their to-do lists. However, if your total focus is on what you should or could be doing, the list could be endless. It is easy to get caught up on the to do list but we fail to notice that if we spent more time stopping what we should not be doing we could increase our productivity, performance, and start seeing the results that we really want.
Start creating a Stop Doing List:
- Stop being distracted by your cellphone; put it away. When you take time to put your distractions away and actively listening to what the other person is saying and paying attention to their body language you will start to pick up clues can learn so much more about the other person. This will help you ask better questions and strengthen relationships. Putting away your distractions allows you to do the work you know you need to get done like finishing a report, making a phone call to a client, or sending out that welcome package.
- Stop talking about yourself and your role. Take time to find out more about your employees are your customers instead of focusing on yourself. You will learn more about their needs and their wants and how you can best serve them. People are not interested in you and what you role is and how great you are. They want to know what is in it for them – make the conversation about them.
- Stop making rash or impulsive decisions. Feeling frustrated or angry? Step away from the situation get some fresh air. Gather more information. Separate the facts from your emotions. Take some time to assess and weigh your options. Give yourself a specific amount of time before you make a decision, hold a difficult conversation, or invest your money. For example, some people wait 24 hours before making a major purchasing decision. This time frame allows for them to think through their decision before making it final.
- Stop blaming, complaining and making excuses. These behaviors are just the deflective mechanism for not taking full responsibility for one’s actions, behaviors, and life. You need to own what you do and what you say and take personal responsibility for what you can influence. When you avoid speaking up when you see a gap or something wrong in a plan, you must accept the consequences. If you want different results, you must speak up and provide information that may be necessary to get the results you need. Complaining does not solve anything; it allows you to vent. Action creates results. Excuses are just reasons why you’re not fully committed to what you said you wanted to do. Personal accountability starts with you committing to what you say you want to achieve and taking the actions necessary to make it happen.
- Stop making assumptions and judgments. When you make assumptions and judgments, you are making them based on your own personal beliefs and experiences. You are painting everyone with the same brush. A better approach would be to come from a learner’s perspective and ask questions to gain more information. Start challenging the assumptions and judgments and discover if they are really true. You may find that some of those perceptions are totally off-base.
- Stop making everything a competition where someone has to lose and someone has to win. You will gain greater strides when you start working with people than working against them. If someone is better at something than you are, ask questions and learn from them. Hone your own skills to be better. Leverage your strengths versus focusing on your weaknesses.
- Stop putting off what needs to get done. You need to ensure that you are managing your priorities. Focus on where your greatest return on investment of your time, money, and resources come from. Work on what you need to get done first before answering e-mails that often request things of you.
- Stop reacting and getting defensive to change. Change represents progress and movement. People often react and get defensive when they lack information and they make snap judgments. Get more information so that you can respond to a situation and communicate your needs and get what you want.
- Stop putting in the last word. Everyone does not need your two cents about how great you are and how you are the only one who makes great decisions or is successful. You may be great but you don’t want your last words to linger making others feel poorly about themselves. When a conversation is closed, leave it at its highest point instead of ending with, “By the way…”
- Stop making decisions that are not aligned with your values and what you say is important to you. Your life and where you are, are a product of all the decisions and choices you have made thus far. If you want different results, you need to start making different choices. Take time to figure out what is most important to you and ask yourself why you decide to do what you do. When you know your “why”, you will make better choices.
BONUS: Stop worrying about what other people think. Do you want to become what they think of you or what you think of yourself? Seeking other people’s approval is exhausting of your time and energy. Be yourself!
What you do on your to do list is just as important as what you need to stop doing. When you focus on what you need to stop doing, you will realize that you will tend to your priorities and start seeing your productivity, performance, and even profits start to grow. You are in control of your results.
What things can you add to the list?
DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and Certified Executive Coach. She has a heart of a teacher and is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. She is a contributing writer for Diversity Magazine and Fabulous at 50 magazine. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion. www.debrakasowski.com