Write a “NOT to do” list!

April 12, 2010

See why writing a “NOT to do” list can help you get more things done today!

Jen Dalitz, founder of sphinxx , the network
for women in leadership is often on the brink of exhaustion and brain
meltdown due to the endless juggle of business, motherhood, wifehood and her
“other life”, farming. She felt, like all juggling women feel, like her to
do list was running away with her. So this week she made a conscious
decision to “not do” and set about writing a “not to do” list in an effort
to take a step back, relax and regain control!

“I’ve just come out of a whirlwind of activity from planning and hosting our
Ascend leadership
development days for the quarter. It’s one of those frenzied periods that
we all have from time to time, working long hours against tight deadlines
while life keeps charging full-speed ahead. I know that you all know
exactly what I mean, so I’ll spare you the detail!

But needless to say, with the program complete for the February quarter I
was spent. and everyone had had enough of me! So my primary goal last
weekend was to do as little as possible. To put my feet up, relax and
recharge. Even better, to get out for a gallop on my horse and forget about
the mountain of emails. it was bliss!

Taking that time out worked a treat and this week I’m feeling like a new
woman! So it got me thinking about what I could not do next time as the
workload and pressure is building, and still be more effective. So this is
my “not to do” list for the coming quarter – I’m going to not do these
things and see if it has a positive impact on my effectiveness and stress

1. I’m not going to take on stuff that’s not my stuff. If people are
difficult or simply playing Princesses for no reason, I’m out. It’s just
too hard. And while I’m happy to play politics.and while I’m happy to play
politics if it makes the wheels go round, there’s a difference between being
connected and being a gossip. I don’t have any time for the latter and to
be truthful, I really don’t want to work with gossips any more.

2. I’m not going to do things that my team could do at least as well.
For example, I’m crap at diary management and detail, but Nikki and Sam are
great at that. I’m a disaster when it comes to organizing the office, but
that’s Barb’s strength. And though I’m good at business management, Shirley
is just as good, if not better. I reckon if I get out of their way and just
let them do it, we’ll get heaps more done together.

3. I’m not booking back-to-back meetings any more. I’m going to time
free each day to think strategically and creatively about my current
business priorities. And meetings I do have will be for 30-45 minutes max,
with a gap in between so I can complete any actions straight away whenever
possible. I’ll take my Mac with me to meetings and email information and
intros then and there, which should have a huge impact on my “to-do” list
and efficiency levels.

4. I won’t send emails if I can avoid it and I’ll unsubscribe to emails
I don’t want to receive. I’m not a total slave to my emails, but for the
next month I’m going to scrutinize my emails even more. Unless there’s an
easy yes/no answer or it’s just a quick info email, I’m going to use the
phone instead. Let’s see what impact this has on my time.

5. I’m not going for coffee meetings unless I’ve had a tele-coffee
first. This is an idea from my great friend Robyn Henderson – it’s just so
much more efficient to apply this filter first, and then follow up only if
necessary with a face-to-face meeting. And the bonus for me is I can have
tele-coffees from the farm!

6. I won’t forget to follow up prospects just because there’s so much
to do – because I know it’s so much easier to close a warm lead than to
start with a cold one. It’s unforgiveable that I’ve not delivered on all
the requests for memberships and speaking proposals that I’ve received in
the past fortnight – if one of these was from you, I apologise and I promise
I’ll be in touch before the end of the week.

7. Finally, I’m not going to stop exercising just because I’m busy.
The beagles suffer the most when this happens, because they miss out on
their morning walks, but after that it’s me that suffers and everyone else
around me, because I get tired and stressed and cranky. So no more skipping
the morning walks, and I’m not going to let a week go by without a decent
yoga practice!

So what do you think – are you ready to start a “NOT to do” list as well? And what will you put on it?

Jen Dalitz is a business consultant, farmer, mum and founder of sphinxx, the
network for women in leadership. www.sphinxx.com.au

For more great career tips click here!

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