Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?
Do you have a ‘to do’ list? Do you also have a ‘stop doing’ list?
Most of us lead busy but undisciplined lives. We have ever-expanding ‘to do’ lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing… and doing more. And it rarely works. Those who have been successful, however, made as much use of ‘stop doing’ lists as ‘to do’ lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.
When I learned this, it became a turning point in my life, and the “stop doing” list became an enduring cornerstone of my annual New Year resolutions, a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time.
also published on medium