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Stop Doing That

by Mark McClanahan

How long is your to-do list?  I’m sure it’s long and never-ending, like those of most successful people. And hopefully you have a great system in place to manage your to-dos. If not, stop reading this right now and start researching ways to best manage your priorities (often called time management), as that needs to be addressed ASAP.

So, assuming you have a great time management system in place, there will almost always come a time when you become overwhelmed by conflicting priorities and capacity strains. The frequency of being overwhelmed can vary depending on your role and what’s on your plate. I find that about two-thirds of the way into a calendar year, I start to feel this way.

When this happens, I take time to pause, review what’s on my radar screen and determine what is causing my overload. As a part of the process, I create a “Stop Doing List.” The purpose of the list is to identify what action items or responsibilities I shouldn’t be working on. It’s not that all of these should not be done. On the contrary, many may still need to be done and may also be highly relevant. I’m just not necessarily the one who has to handle the work.

When creating my stop doing list, I determine who would be the best fit to perform the work, I delegate this work and then I remove these items from my list of priorities. In this process, I make sure to consider who would gain the most from having these new responsibilities. This is a terrific way to be an effective executive while stretching your direct reports and using your time to focus on higher priorities for your role.

Mark McClanahan (mmcclanahan@callmosby.com or 314.909.1800) is the chief operating officer at Mosby Building Arts.

Submitted 9 years 26 days ago
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