Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's On Your Not To-Do List?

We're 17 days into 2012 -- how are those New Year's Resolutions coming?

Before you yell at me, hold on. I'm just the messenger.

And if you're not happy with the progress you're making on your To-Do List for 2012, here's help ...

... in the form of a Not-to-Do List from Peter Drucker and The Drucker Institute:

If you’re like most people, you’re working on a list of resolutions: Eat healthy. Go to the gym more. Read the classics. But Peter Drucker would have likely asked you for a different kind of list: What are you going to stop doing?

As we’ve noted before, Drucker believed that “planned abandonment” is among the most important things that any organization can engage in. After all, shedding yesterday’s products, programs and policies is the only way to make room for the innovations of tomorrow.

But Drucker was also adamant that this same discipline should extend beyond the organization to the individual. That’s the only way one can ensure that he or she maintains proper focus and protects what for many of us is the most precious resource of all: our time.

“The job is . . . not to set priorities,” Drucker wrote in The Effective Executive, his 1967 classic. “That is easy. Everybody can do it.  The reason why so few executives concentrate is the difficulty of setting ‘posteriorities’—that is, deciding what tasks not to tackle—and of sticking to the decision.”

In a 2004 interview with Forbes, Drucker asserted that leaders, in particular, need to make the setting of posteriorities—well, a priority. “The most dangerous traps for a leader are those near-successes where everybody says that if you just give it another big push it will go over the top,” Drucker said. “One tries it once. One tries it twice. One tries it a third time. But by then it should be obvious this will be very hard to do. So, I always advise my friend Rick Warren (the pastor at Saddleback Church), ‘Don’t tell me what you’re doing, Rick. Tell me what you stopped doing.’”
So, what are you going to stop doing this year, to free up more time for high-value activities like 80/20 Marketing?

I would never ask you a question I wouldn't answer myself, so here are 3 things I'm stopping in 2012:
  1. reading past the front page of the newspaper at lunch (saving bad news for after dinner :-)
  2. showering during the work day (hygiene is all well and good, but I'm moving my workouts before breakfast, to reduce transition time)
  3. taking any work home past business hours (leaving all books, magazines, etc. in my office)
Chime in on the comments section if you'd like to share what's on your Not To-Do List this year.

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