The last post described the need to develop what Collins calls your Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) and to develop the skills and knowledge to get you there in some number of years (this is a career goal). Once you have the goal in mind, getting there requires great discipline on your part. And one of our biggest challenges, in fact probably THE biggest challenge, is learning to say “no” to opportunities or tasks that lead you astray from the path forward to that goal.
A to-do list will help you identify the steps to develop yourself to reach the goal. But without a not-to-do list, you’ll soon flounder, falling into old habits and continuing commitments that are counter to your needs. Look at your past week or month. Identify the commitments or favors that you addressed. Remember to include those activities that are personal actions. Look at your upcoming calendar and do the same. Highlight those activities that are not productive to making your goal. Put these on a list and commit to NOT DOING THEM.
Not sure what to consider for your list? Candidates for your not-to-do list include those actions that really are the responsibilities of others–let them pick up the weight. Consider actions that are exhausting–either physically or mentally–without moving you along your path. What are you doing regularly merely because you have always done it? If you need some guidance on developing such as list, do a quick google search on the topic of not-to-do lists. You’ll find expert recommendations and helpful templates on how to develop your list and to stick to it. But make a commitment to hold fast to a disciplined approach of removing clutter that will impede your growth towards that BHAG!