Posted almost 5 years ago

I Need a To-Stop-Doing List

Changing Potentially Destructive Habits - 

If you are like most of us, you have a to-do list you mark off as items are competed.  I have been using to-do lists in some form or another (handwritten, computer generated, PDA, or phone) for many years.  Author Chris Guillebeau advocates a To-Stop-Doing List.

In Gillebeau’s words “Your to-stop-doing-list is exactly what it sounds like: a list of things you simply don’t want to do anymore.”  Energy draining tasks, time wasters, and efforts that don’t contribute to your overall goals, are among the suggestions. Your to-stop-doing list needs to be uniquely your own.  You are the only one who knows your daily routines and practices.

As for me, my to-stop-doing list includes:

Watching Television – The male population in the United States between 40 and 55 years of age watches an average of 4.5 hours of television each day.  Just think of what you could do with those same hours!

Abusing E-mail – This includes checking for incoming e-mails too often and reading e-mails that just aren’t useful.  I’m limiting my check of incoming e-mails to twice a day (and telling everyone of this practice by way of an autoresponder) and eliminating e-mails through greater attention to subject headings and sender name.  According to author Bill Jensen you can delete up to 75% of your e-mails through the use of e-mail scanning strategies. 

Getting Lost in Internet Searches -  I’m guilty of going off on Internet search tangents if I don’t write down a quick note stating what I’m searching for and why.  The and why part is critical for me.  I could keep searching forever because I thoroughly enjoy researching topics.  However, to be an efficient researcher I need to set time limits and stick to them. 

Of course my to-stop-doing list is longer than three items.  Gillebeau encourages us to come up with at least three to five things that you currently do but should stop doing.

Is that the sound of New Years’ resolutions approaching?

Comments (8)

  1. Tiny 1422527677 avatar rlsanderson

    Ned: Thanks for your comments. I'm sure others can use your method to their own benefit too. In today's attention economy it's critical that we be flexible and know what's no longer important to do and what matters most to use as individuals.

  2. Tiny 1448387771 avatar ncarey

    I regularly look at my To Do list for things I can cross off, not because they are done but because I don't need to do them.

  3. Tiny 1422527677 avatar rlsanderson

    Jason: Thanks for your comments. I hope the To-Stop-Doing List works for you. Yes I have dramatically reduced my TV watching time. I think you may have found the key: limit yourself to a certain viewing schedule and narrow the types of program you watch.

  4. Tiny 1399656930 avatar jasonhartman1

    That's a neat idea, looking at the idea of "time wasters" from the other side of the fence. The to-do list has been done to death. Thanks to you, I'm going to start a to-don't list. Have you had any luck with cutting down the time devoted to that black hole of television watching? I've got mine whittled down to only sports and the occasional reality show.

  5. Tiny 1422527677 avatar rlsanderson

    Al: You are very welcome. I hope that 2013 is a successful year for you both personally and professionally.

  6. Tiny 1399586579 avatar alewilliamson

    Richard, thanks for summarizing a useful tip. Appreciate it. Will add to the things I'm considering for 2013

  7. Tiny 1422527677 avatar rlsanderson

    Dorene: Thanks for your comments and may you have a very successful new year!

  8. Tiny 1399663109 avatar dorenec

    I could not agree more and intend to implement the same policies for 2013, starting immediately.