What to Do — and Not

Man-Working-TableA couple of years back on the Chic-fil-A Leadercast, John Maxwell was having a conversation with Good to Great author JIm Collins and Jim mentioned that he has a “to-do” list AND a “to-don’t” list. Author Peter Bergman recently blogged about this topic at Lifehacker.

Peter shared a story about how busy we can get doing things because we are trying to leverage our time, etc. He was running late to a meeting and as he entered the elevator where his client’s office was located, he pulled out his smartphone and began typing an email to the CEO with whom he was meeting. When the elevator stopped, still typing away, he started to get off when a familiar voice said, “Wrong floor.” Of course, it was his client!

His client was a finalist for an “entrepreneur of the year” award, and was just returning from a meeting with the judges. He had made two explicit decisions before entering the room with the judges: he wanted to win; and he was not going to look at his Blackberry while in the room.

Many of us know what we want, but how many of us know what we don’t want? As Bergman points out, many keep lists of what they want, but how many keep a list of things we don’t want?

Rather than Collins’ cute “to-do / to-don’t” names, Bergman calls his lists:

  • Your Focus List (the road ahead)
  • Your Ignore List (the distractions)

Isn’t that the real challenge we have, keeping focused and ignoring distractions?

Develop your own lists and review them daily. When you know what you really want and what you need to avoid, you will be more productive and increase your influence with others.


Two Lists You Should Look at Every Morning at Lifehacker



Great Tips for Gaining Focus

Over at under30ceo.com, a great entrepreneurial blog site, Michael Adams has some great thoughts about handling your “always on” brain.

Here are some of his key points:

  • Do a brain-dump. Don’t carry it in your head. Trying to remember keeps you from focusing.
  • Let it marinate. Get away from the list, let your brain rest, and take a fresh look at things. You may be surprised at what you see.
  • Narrow the list. Entrepreneur? Which ideas will make you money? Not an entrepreneur? Which ideas truly advance your values and provide the greatest opportunity to live your values in the largest way?
  • Create POW–Piles of Wow.” Tackle your list and keep a record of the great things you have done. John Maxwell calls that “The Law of Victory.” Celebrating our victories, large and small, reminds us of the value we are creating for ourselves and others,

Stop Thinking! How I Conquered My Mind and My To-Do List