To Do List? Here’s my Don’t Do list.
Every successful person I know has a plan for tackling the day. They stay hyper-specific on the list they’ve made the day before and surgically accomplish each item in order. One after the other until they have conquered everything they set out to and nothing less.
There are, however, things that pop up and take even the best of us off track. If your days are anything like mine, they can take your progress completely off the rails.
To do lists are great and I highly recommend them to every ambitious person I know but what about the things you will not allow yourself to do in order to stay the course throughout the day?
Enter my ‘To Don’t List’.
Strap in and be willing to suffer because some of thee are designed to break bad habits and are others to build new onesDon’t check Facebook constantly: Post. Check the post. Reply to the post. Watch it; it can eat up hours of your day. One concept I love is something called “grouping” (others may refer to it as “batching”). Set a time that you’re going to post then another time that you’re going to monitor. Be careful because scrolling will KILL your day and your productivity. Stay the course and don’t be lured by the cool stuff below. You don’t need to see another doggie voice-over video today.
- No electronics in the early morning: Don’t reach for your phone or computer first thing in the morning. Your body was just in slumber, rest and recovery (for those training). Give your brain a few minutes to begin to produce. Give your eyes the ability to adjust to real light (not blue light from a screen). Go to the window first. The digital world can wait for 30 minutes. Mornings should be spent gearing up your body, feeing the machine, procreating (or practicing how to) and preparing for the hunt (reflections from my old caveman days).
- Don’t give away your time: Its been said that it’s the most valuable thing in the world. Protect it. The time vampires will take it if you let them. Schedule calls and have an end time. Schedule physical meetings and have an end time. Remember, time is the only thing you can’t get back so don’t be careless with it. The art of conversation has many levels. Get skilled at how to end them. Politely, of course.
- Don’t let work be the last thing you do at night. We’ve established that time is the most valuable thing in the world, right? It should be spent with family, socializing, deepening relationships, reflecting, planning, etc. Set an end time for work in the house and stick to it. Then, crack a cold beer, a nice glass of Merlot or a flavored seltzer water if you’re not in a drinking mood.
- Don’t make excuses. Your diet. Your training. Your time spent with family. Your emotional health. You know what needs to be done right? Of course you do. That’s why we feel guilty when we don’t do it. Listen, I’m from an Italian family outside of Philly. I like my sausage and peppers, spaghetti and red sauce and BREAD but I put the brakes on in order to manage my health and insanely powerful guilt mechanisms.
- Don’t spend time on tasks with low returns. If you’re running your business properly, certain things should be delegated. If they don’t get done, do not step in, clear the room and take care of it yourself out of spite and frustration (It happens to the best of us). Find a better way to make sure things get done the right way. System, Process and People. Hone them, train them and let them fly. If course corrections need to be done, then spend your time on that and not tasks that will take your attention off the big picture: your company. Work On It Not In It.
- Don’t be a slave to the digital leash. When is the last time you literally turned your phone off? Once a week you should have a day that you experience true freedom. Tee it up by letting those who contact you not to expect a reply text, return e-mail or “likes” on Facebook and Instagram. Or not! Simply go dark and enjoy the bliss of silence. Unless you have kids, then enjoy the beautiful way they ask for things and converse with their brother or sister.
Our days can all run together if we let them. Take control of the things you will not accept. Make a plan and stick to it and then fill in the gaps with productive work that will enable you to have the life you want. Build your financial freedom, personal freedom, personal fitness and health, deepen your relationships with yourself and your family and gather experiences that enrich your soul daily.
Owner, Dragon Gym Martial Arts, Exton, PA
Owner, Dragon Gym Martial Arts, Berwyn, PA
Co-Founder, Discovery Group