One of the tried and true organization and time-management tools is the trusty old "to do" list. I was trained to diligently put one together at the end of the day for the following day, and whatever tasks I failed to complete, to carry it forward. This system has worked well in helping me prioritize and focus. But I have also heard many of my colleagues complain about having too much on their list, and feeling very discouraged and overwhelmed by the sheer number of items on their "To Do" list. To help ease the overwhelm, I want to introduce the concept of the "Stop Doing" list.
I first read about the "Stop Doing" list in "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. He stated that one of the commonalities of the companies who were able to propel themselves from being just good to being great is that they all looked at what they were currently doing that they needed to Stop Doing. I am implementing this idea in a slightly different way, but I think a "Stop Doing" list can actually help your productivity and effectiveness.
So how do you decide what goes on your "Stop Doing" list? Here's what I suggest you do.
For the next week or two, each time you work on your "to do" list (and if you are not using one currently, I strongly recommend you start), or blocking off time for specific tasks in your planner, ask yourself this question: "does this task add value or generate positive results for me and my organization?" If the answer is no, it should go right on top of your "Stop Doing" list.
If the answer is "yes", ask yourself a second question: "am I the best person to do this task?" The first question tells you whether you can eliminate a task. This question tells you whether you can delegate a task. I know for solo-business people, you automatically think that you have no one to delegate any tasks to. But actually, that might not necessarily be true. Today, there is a whole network of virtual assistants who can handle a myriad of administrative work for you. Some accept work by the hour, and some accept work by the project. If you are interested in this resource, check out http://www.assistu.com