Start Your "Stop Doing" List Now

I’ve never met a CEO who said, “I just don’t know what to do with all the spare time I have.”

As business leaders, we invariably have far too much on our plates for any mere human to actually tackle. We typically take more and more on instead of delegating, or we fail to ensure a task provides real value and is worth our time.

Long to-do lists don’t make us better leaders. Instead, I’d argue the opposite. That list can leave us ineffective at best and paralyzed at worst.

That’s why I challenge every leader I work with to take a long, hard look at what they’re doing and identify 10 things they can stop doing immediately.

What’s going on your list? What things can easily be delegated to other members of your team? What brings the most value to you and the company? Typically, 20% of our tasks account for 80% of the overall value. What are those things for you?

Here’s a trick I use to see how my time is being spent. I think of it in colors. When I’m doing “GREEN” things, it means I’m using my time wisely. “YELLOW” things have minimal value and “RED” is a waste of my time, so these go straight to my “STOP DOING LIST”.

How are you spending your time? If time is money, how do you get the biggest bang for your buck?

I encourage you to look at your list with a fresh set of eyes. Are you micro-managing your team? Do you trust them enough to really give them ownership of their areas? Ask your direct reports, “What is one thing I can delegate to you?” Are there legacy processes on your list that you’re doing simply because they’ve always been done? Would the world end if you just stopped doing them?

As a CEO, it’s your job to drive strategy and keep your eyes on the big picture. Getting lost in the tactical pieces of your business means underserving your vision. Are you ready to commit to change?

If so, start working on your list of things you can stop doing today.