What could you stop doing?

This post is reprinted from my weekly try-it e-mail series.  If you like it, sign-up here to have each week’s exercise delivered straight to your inbox.

Have you noticed how easy it is to add something new to your schedule? One more client, one more project, one more meeting. Each new thing on its own seems inconsequential, so in a burst of enthusiasm (or guilt) we say yes.

Then we wonder why we feel so tired all the time.

Normally this is where you would expect a lesson on learning to say “no.” That’s good advice, and we’ll probably cover it one of these weeks, but for now I’m asking you to do something different.

Instead of saying “no” to the new thing, try making room for it your schedule by letting go of something you do now.

To be clear, I don’t mean put some of your work on the back burner, or let some details fall through the cracks. I mean make a conscious decision to completely divest yourself of (at least) one commitment.

How to choose

I can almost hear you muttering through the computer: “There is nothing on my plate I can stop doing.” You know your schedule better than I, but before you give up, I invite you to look again through the following filters:

High Effort, Low Impact

Do you spend time working on a report, or writing copy you suspect no one actually reads? What would happen if you just stopped doing it?

Sacred Cows

What do you (ether as an individual or as an organization) do because you’ve always done it? Are you sure all of those tasks are still serving your mission as well as they did in the beginning?

Outside your Wheelhouse

Do you regularly spend time doing work you aren’t actually qualified to do? Would it be worth the extra money to hire someone else to do that work–especially if you got better results in half the time?

Want to share?

What are you ready to stop doing to invite new opportunities into your life? Leave a comment below to share what you are ready to stop doing–and what you hope to invite into your life to take its place.

One thought on “What could you stop doing?

  1. Thanks Maureen for your post. It is important for people to learn to say no to tasks in order to maintain focus and takes a lot of inner strength to do this. I especially like your section on sacred cows.

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