Priority: The “Stop Doing” List

As of late, I’ve made it a priority to wake up earlier…well, earlier than 7am that is.  I’m always complaining about how I believe the day does not have enough hours to get things done, and I’m not even wanting A LOT more, I’d be happy with 30hrs instead of 24hrs.  Since I know that’s  NOT going to happen, the only other option is to start my day earlier and try to accomplish more from my “To Do List” for the day.

Even though I make changes to accommodate my ever-growing to-do list, I still find myself frustrated from time to time ; I just keep on falling behind and have a hard time catching up!  Just recently, I came across a divine revelation, a SIMPLE, LOGICAL revelation…maybe I need to shift my focus from  a “to do” list to a “stop doing” list….

What a crazy idea!  Stop doing? Do less?  For a long time now, I’ve lived under the impression that “bigger is better” and “more more more” is the way of life.  And, because of that lifestyle, I found myself frustrated and feeling incompetent because I could not achieve EVERYTHING I wanted to.  And so, I came across this idea of “stop doing” as I was reading a book by Jim Collins named Good To Great: Why some companies make the leap, and others don’t… Based on a five year research project comparing teams that made a leap to those that did not, Good to Great shows that greatness is not primarily a function of circumstance; but largely a matter of conscious choice and discipline.

In this book, Jim Collins, says that a lot of companies concentrate on “what else to do?” and never consider “what should we stop doing?”  His research discovered that the companies that never made the leap to greatness shared the common mistake of not consistently evaluating what they needed to keep doing versus things they should probably stop doing.  These companies wasted time, effort, talent, and resources on things that were really unnecessary.  Now, pay attention to the word “unnecessary” because that is where it gets tricky.  A lot of times, those are the things that really get us, those things that seem good, but are really not NECESSARY for our progress.

One of the things I loved about this book, besides how interesting I found the research on many household name companies, is that the research revealed PRINCIPLES that led to progress and sustained growth.  That is how I came to start evaluating my life with the purpose of starting my “Stop Doing” list.

And so a valid question might be, if I’m only involved in activities that are productive and positive, why would I  stop doing any of these?  As I read through this particular principle in the book, I was reminded of a saying my parents would tell me often,  “El que mucho abarca, poco aprieta!”  Loosely  translated into saying that the person that does many trades masters few or none!.  Our time, effort, talent, and resources can instead be focused on those things that will truly bring great results in our lives instead of chasing quantity over quality.

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