“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can leave alone.”- HENRY DAVID THOREAU, naturalist
We have been making “To-Do-List” as a standard operating procedure for a long time.
But there is a serious flaw in this method.
You land up doing so many unnecessary things that working efficiency gets reduced to 25 %.
At the end of the day, your “To-Do-List” is good enough to be thrown into the dustbin.
I find “Not-to-do-list” more effective than ‘to-do-list” as it is a great time saver and your day becomes SUPER productive.
Here is my “NOT-TO-DO LIST”.
1) Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers
This is the biggest time killer. Your caller is most likely to offer you low-interest loans or credit cards.Or ask you to donate money for a cause.
Will you lose an opportunity by not taking these random calls? Nope- anybody who is seriously interested in you will find better ways to connect via mail or SMS.
2) Don’t answer E-Mails first thing in the morning
Your most productive time is till 12 noon.
Use this time to do critical jobs, which require your undivided attention concentration.
Answer all emails in the afternoon, the best time is from 3 pm to 5 pm.
Unless the mail requires urgent reply- it is better to postpone and answer all emails in a bunch.
3) Don’t go to meetings which have no clear agenda
Meetings are the biggest time killers and no-agenda meetings can sap your energy totally.
If you are setting the meeting, please don’t call every person you can think of associated with the project. Meetings are not a spectator sport, and everybody attending must contribute or he should not be in that meeting.
I know of a CEO who had no chairs in the meeting room-everybody stands and meeting concludes fast.
4) Don’t say YES when you want to say NO
You are an important person and everybody wants to meet you.
Advertising guys, promotion guys, event guys, financial & investment people, credit card salesmen etc.
And they will get references from your friends and they will be persistent.
If you want to retain your sanity-say NO.
It will save you time and efforts.
Politeness is a lost art.
5) Don’t waste time on low profit clients
Work on 80/20 rule i.e. 20 % of your clients will give you 80 % of your business.
So, spend 80 % time on 20 % important clients.
Most of the time, low value, low-profit clients will take your maximum time.
Become a calculating Jew while dealing with such time wasters.
Pass on all such clients to your juniors.
Your time is valuable-save it.
6) Don’t attack work in random fashion
The golden rule is to prioritize your work for the day.
Make A, B and C list and try to finish the most important work first. The saying is “Eat the frog first” or finish most important work first, however unpleasant it may be.
When you finish important work first, you have a sense of fulfillment and achievement.
You should make a list of important jobs to be done on the previous evening.
7) Don’t be slave to your smartphone 24/7
You cannot lead your life checking your smartphone for WhatsApp messages every five minutes.
I have a huge problem with the current obsession of checking your phone for WhatsApp messages every five minutes if not less.
This is the second biggest time waster after meetings in the corporate world.
When you are checking messages, you tend to look at personal messages also, which you are obliged to see and reply. So every time, you open your phone, there are 50 groups which are active and want your attention
So when do you do any productive work.?
My humble suggestions:
Check your mobile after 2 hours only.
I guarantee that your life will not crumble when you were not on phone.
Have a mobile detox day. Choose a day when you will lock your mobile phone
I have chosen Saturday as mobile detox day.
Spend time with your family, children or just watching a movie or TV.
You will feel ten years younger.
Keep your mobile on airplane mode from 8 pm to 8 am.
You will save yourself from the most unhealthy assault on your senses.
Final word, follow this “NOT-TO- DO-LIST” for next 30 days and you will be shocked at the amount of productive time you have saved.
Life is too short to waste on unproductive work.