Workplace Hack: Write a Stop Doing List

Do you have a to do list? For most of us, it’s almost impossible to not have one. Without our to do lists we’d forget half our tasks and never get anything done.

But being productive isn’t always about getting things done, sometimes being productive is about not doing things.

How many times have you decided to stop doing something? Maybe you need to stop biting your nails, stop checking Facebook every 5 minutes or stop going to pointless meetings. But would you add these goals to your to do list? It’s unlikely. And even if you did, quitting bad habits isn’t something you can ‘just do’. Maybe you need a “stop doing list”…

The stop doing list was coined by business writer Jim Collins in response to a hypothetical question from a friend. If, one day, you inherited $20 million and found out that you had an incurable and terminal disease with no longer than 10 years left to live – what would you do differently and what would you stop doing?

“That assignment became a turning point in my life, and the “stop doing” list became an enduring cornerstone of my annual New Year resolutions — a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time.” – Jim Collins

To follow this workplace hack, create a list of things you want to stop doing. Like your to do list, your stop doing list will grow and change as you complete tasks (by quitting your bad habits) and discover new ones. Instead of just planning what you will do this week, think about what you won’t do.

Keep your stop doing list in front of you to to inspire and remind you of what you shouldn’t be doing and quit your bad habits today.

Have you tried keeping a stop doing list? Share your experiences in the comments below!

This hack is part of a series of weekly workplace hacks that teaches you about collaboration, productivity and time saving tips. Published every Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Neal. via Compfight cc

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