3 Lists Everyone Should Keep

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The Start Doing List

If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.

It can be easy to get stuck in a comfortable routine where we focus on the same things and we forget to take a step back and identify things that we should be doing that would have a big impact on our business and on others.

I often tell leaders at Service Express that “what got us here, won’t get us there.”  In other words, we cannot be content to rest on our laurels, we must continually look for new opportunities that will cause us to grow and become better.

As the President of Service Express, I can’t focus on the same things today that I focused on 5 years ago.  As our company has grown, so has the need for me to identify new areas that I must focus on to ensure that I’m having the greatest impact on our company.

Michael Hyatt illustrates this well by saying that just as we must put the big rocks into a vase first, and then add the smaller ones, so too should we prioritize our time so that we put our most impactful activities first.  If we put the smaller ones in first, there won’t be room for the big ones.

The Stop Doing List

“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” -Peter Drucker

As leaders, our effectiveness is often a result of things that we choose not to do as much as it is the things that we choose to do.  It’s important then that we regularly prune activities from our to do list that should be delegated to others or that distract us from areas where we can have our greatest impact.

As individuals succeed, they are naturally given more responsibility.  When something needs to be done people will turn to those who have a track record of getting things done.  Over time, those responsibilities pile up and it becomes difficult- even impossible- for one person to accomplish.

Stephen Covey once said “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage to say “no” to other things.  The way you do that is by having  a bigger “yes” burning inside.”

Consider whether there are things that you are doing now that can be delegated.  Also, consider whether there are things that you’re doing that are hindering the development of others.

As a leader, make sure that you’re doing the things that only you can do and then develop others by delegating important tasks that they can do.  Remember, the role of a leader is not to develop more followers, it’s to develop more leaders.

The Keep Doing List

As a leader you must regularly assess what activities you’re engaged in that are giving you the greatest return in life.

What activities are you currently doing that only you can or should do?  What activities are you engaged in that provide growth and opportunities for others?  What activities are you focused on that cause you to grow personally, professionally and financially?

At Service Express we utilize 5/15s to ensure that we’re focused on the right things.  5/15’s are written goals that employees plan on accomplishing for the coming quarter.  They review them before the quarter begins with their manager to ensure alignment.  We’ve found that redefining goals and priorities quarterly is the right amount of time for us.  Doing it monthly is too much and doing it yearly is too little.

 

What we focus on today, determines how successful we will be in the future.  As you look to the new year, what items should be on your start, stop and keep doing lists?

 


  • Graham Loveluck-Edwards

    If there’s one change of behaviour that should be on everybodies list, it’s to stop beginning every Monday by looking in the diary to see what’s already in there and just going along with it, and instead start every Monday morning by thinking “what can I do this week that will have the biggest impact?” – then checking the diary to see if it supports your conclusion. If it doesn’t – change it