SCS Podcast | 5 min read

Making Your Not To Do List

The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now | Originally Written by Tim Ferriss

What's on your NOT TO DO LIST? The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now. On this episode, I discuss this topic that I was introduced to by Tim Ferriss.

On the list are:

1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers

2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night

3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time

4. Do not let people ramble

5. Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only

6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers

7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize

8. Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7 (Smartphone/iPhone)

9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should.

Original Post Here

What's on your NOT TO DO LIST?
Audio Version
The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now | Originally Written by Tim Ferriss

1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers

Feel free to surprise others, but don’t be surprised. It just results in unwanted interruption and poor negotiating position. Let it go to voicemail, and consider using a service like Google Voice where you can listen in on the voice and get email or text transcriptions.

2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night

The former scrambles your priorities and plans for the day, and the latter just gives you insomnia. E-mail can wait until 10am, after you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items…

  • Add social media, text messaging and turning on your phone.

3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time

If the desired outcome is defined clearly with a stated objective and agenda listing topics/questions to cover, no meeting or call should last more than 30 minutes. Request them in advance so you “can best prepare and make good use of the time together.”

  • Consider not having the meeting at all and do it via email. Meeting Vacation.

4. Do not let people ramble

Forget “how’s it going?” when someone calls you. Stick with “what’s up?” or “I’m in the middle of getting something out, but what’s going on?” A big part of GTD is GTP — Getting To the Point.

  • Don't ramble yourself. Have clearly thought out your objective before calling/meeting/emailing.

5. Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only

I belabor this point enough. Get off the cocaine pellet dispenser and focus on execution of your top to-do’s instead of responding to manufactured emergencies. Set up a strategic autoresponder and check twice or thrice daily.

  • This includes Social, DM’s, Messenger, Slack, etc.
  • We turn to our phones when we're bored or waiting. Let's practice not doing that, just waiting or being bored and letting our minds rest and wonder and daydream.

6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers

There is no sure path to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. Do an 80/20 analysis of your customer base in two ways–which 20% are producing 80%+ of my profit, and which 20% are consuming 80%+ of my time? Then put the loudest and least productive on autopilot by citing a change in company policies. Send them an e-mail with new rules as bullet points: number of permissible phone calls, e-mail response time, minimum orders, etc. Offer to point them to another provider if they can’t conform to the new policies.

  • Don't be afraid to fire your customers, you'll free up time and your stress level will go down to focus on and better serve those that aren't a pain in the ass.

7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize

If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. If you define the single most important task for each day, almost nothing seems urgent or important. Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of letting little bad things happen (return a phone call late and apologize, pay a small late fee, lose an unreasonable customer, etc.) to get the big important things done. The answer to overwhelm is not spinning more plates — or doing more — it’s defining the few things that can really fundamentally change your business and life.

  • Effective vs Efficient. Being effective is about doing the right things, while being efficient is about doing things right.
  • Put your phone in airplane mode in eliminate distractions and interruptions.
  • List down your 6 most important tasks for the next day before you leave the office or go to bed.

8. Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7

Take at least one day off of digital leashes per week. Turn them off or, better still, leave them in the garage or in the car. I do this on at least Saturday, and I recommend you leave the phone at home if you go out for dinner. So what if you return a phone call an hour later or the next morning? As one reader put it to a miffed co-worker who worked 24/7 and expected the same: “I’m not the president of the US. No one should need me at 8pm at night. OK, you didn’t get a hold of me. But what bad happened?” The answer? Nothing.

9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should

Work is not all of life. Your co-workers shouldn’t be your only friends. Schedule life and defend it just as you would an important business meeting. Never tell yourself “I’ll just get it done this weekend.” Review Parkinson’s Law in 4HWW and force yourself to cram within tight hours so your per-hour productivity doesn’t fall through the floor. Focus, get the critical few done, and get out. E-mailing all weekend is no way to spend the little time you have on this planet.

It’s hip to focus on getting things done, but it’s only possible once we remove the constant static and distraction. If you have trouble deciding what to do, just focus on not doing. Different means, same end.

**My additions and thoughts are the bullets in italics. The original Post Is Here

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