My Not-To-Do List

Many of You have heard Tim Ferriss and his book, The Four Hour Work WeekFerriss is not advocating only working for four hours a week but wants you to be as efficient as possible to make time for the things that matter. I laughed many times while *listening* to this book. For example, if you have a time and money wasting client sometimes, you have to fire them, which is funny because I have learned this the hard way. See the Pareto Principle.

Then there was a certain part of the book that made me stop and rewind, which was the “Not-To-Do List.” This list is as important as a To-Do List. As a business owner your most precious resource is time and possibly money depending on what stage of development your company is now. However, money is a renewable resource while time is not. There are nine items on the No To-Do List, which are the following. Thou shalt not: “answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers; e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night; agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time; let people ramble; check e-mail constantly; over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers; work more to fix overwhelm; carry a cellphone 24/7; and do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should.”

I am guilty of all nine. Some more than others but every day my goal is just to be better than the day before. One of the items on the Not-To-Do List that made the most change in my business was defining the purpose of meetings in advance, making clear end times and enforcing them. My life improved. But an unexpected side effect was that because my life improved so did my client’s because I now have more time for them and improving their experience with my firm. What would you add to your Not-To-Do List?

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters