Stop Doing List Part II

Posted on by in Goals, Personal Development, Planning, Time Management

Wednesday, I talked about "Creating a Stop Doing List" out of an audio
recording by Jim Collins (if you haven’t read that post, just scroll
down below this post to read it).  Having read that, the natural
question most people ask  is, "How do I do that?"  In other words, the
idea that we need to stop doing a lot of what we’re currently doing so
that we can focus on those few things that matter most to us and our
life, makes intuitive sense.  But how to define what activities I need
to reduce or alleviate from my life—well that’s often a whole different
story.  So let me share with you a common practice i use to do that.

At least once a year (and frequently multiple times per year), I
take out a sheet of paper and make a traffic light on the left hand
side of the paper (you know, a long rectangular box with three circles
inside it) about nine to ten inches long.  Inside each circle I write
the color that corresponds to that circle on a traffic light (i.e.,
red, yellow and green).  Red represents those activities that take
energy from me.  Yellow represents those activities that I’m neutral
towards (neither take or restore energy, they just are).  And then
green represents those activities that restore or replenish me.

So, after I write in the words, "Red, Yellow and Green", I then
begin to write down all of the activities I’m currently engaged in and
then fit them into the appropriate section.  For example, as an INTJ,
being around lots of people is a red light activity for me.  Whereas
times of solitude (like when I’m writing or reading) are green light
activities (again, for me). Solving problems is green light, managing a
process or program is red light.  Creating something new is green
light, reading resumes is red light.  You get the idea.

Now, here’s the benefit of doing this each year, because chances
are, your "Stop Doing" list is probably found in your red light
category.  At that point, you may say, "This year, I’m going to stop
doing x, y, and z and to do that, I’m going to need to delegate x to
Joe and y to Ally and then on z I’m going to need to pray and ask God
to bring someone into my life  who can take over z."  In this way, year
by year, you’ll reduce the amount of red light living you have to
encounter (because we all still have to encounter some red light
activities in our lives) and increase the amount of green light living
you get to do—and that will be a good thing for you and all of those
around you!

However, that said, I do have a few more thoughts about this.  If
you’re ever feeling stressed or burned out, immediately do a traffic
light analysis.  Chances are 60-80% of your time is focused on red
light activities (not a great way to live). Once you make your list,
reduce the red light activities.   Secondly, your traffic light
analysis will probably flow out of your personality.  So, the more you
know about your personality type, the easier it will be for you to
determine what to keep doing and what to stop doing.  And finally, and
this is the hardest thing of all to do, in order to focus on what you
do best, you may have to stop doing some green light activities as
well.  In other words, as I mentioned the other day, you cannot become
great by doing more and more of what you are good or excellent at.  You
attain your full God-given potential by focusing on what you do
best—what you are exceptional or a genius at.  So, have you made your
"Stop Doing" list yet?  If not, why don’t you do a traffic light
analysis today and use that to develop your "Stop Doing" list . . .

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One Response to “Stop Doing List Part II”

  1. Jim Estill 5 September 2005 at 10:30 pm #

    Great blog. Good reading list. I am a total believer in the stop doing or “Don’t do” list. Often I phrase it “I don’t yet …” leaving me the option of picking it up later.

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