Stop Doing…..

I just came across this great question while reading the description of Marshall Goldsmith’s book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”.
“Instead of your usual “To-Do” list, start your “To-Stop” list. Ask yourself, “What am I willing to change right now?” .

People hire me as their coach to discuss the changes they want to make in their lives. Included in these discussions are often the details of what they no longer want in their lives, such as what they no longer want to be doing. But then we usually go on to discuss what they will do instead… adding to their “to do” lists more and more things to do. I really like Goldsmith’s suggestion of a “to stop” list. To me this means meeting myself exactly where I am in the moment – doing something perhaps unproductive or unconstructive – and doing the very next smallest step… which is STOPPING! I love it! Adding to a “to do” list sometimes ends up contributing to the overwhelming amount of things we already have to do, where as a “to stop” list feels more like taking away from the list of things to do – it’s a relief! It may seem like a simply enough reframe, however if it feels better, chances are you’re going to end up with better results.

Here is an invitation to work with Goldsmith’s suggestion, with a twist of Kim (I haven’t actually picked up the book yet so I’m making up the structure). At the end of the day, take some time to reflect. Was there anything that happened during the day that you really would have liked to have seen turn out differently? Perhaps during a conversation you found yourself reacting in a way that triggered a chain of emotional reactions, directing the conversation off topic or to an unwanted result. Or maybe there was a project that didn’t turn or as planned or wasn’t completed on time. Whatever the situation, ask yourself, “What specifically did I do that contributed to this outcome?” Take a few moments to reflect on the thinking pattern, behavior or action that contributed to the experience and acknowledge how you specifically participated in the resulting outcome. You may want use a journal for the process or simply spend time contemplating the experience. Next ask, “What will I ‘stop doing’ to help this result to not happen again”. Add this to your “to stop” list. Don’t worry about what you’re going to do instead, by stopping what you were doing, by default you’ll have to do something else – even if that something else is nothing. Since your intention is to not experience the previous result again, when you stop doing what you did that participated in its happening, chances are that you’ll naturally do something that will lead to the result you want!

Myself, I’ve been noticing lately that I’m not as productive as I’d like to be. I participate in being unproductive by letting myself get distracted by surfing the web; hopping from one social site to the next checking out posts, looking to see if someone commented on a post I made or if there is a new post I want to comment on, checking my email, Googling whatever just popped into my mind… anybody relate to what I’m saying? I’ve added “I will stop the distractive behavior of web surfing while working on a task” to my “to stop” list. This post is a result of that commitment – I just resisted the urge to click on my email when I heard its familiar “ping” a moment ago. However, I do have to admit – this post is a result of getting sidetracked from what I was originally doing… which I’ll be getting back to now 🙂

Let me know how it goes!

Posted by on Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 8:45 am 
Filed under Attitude, Awareness, Distractions, Focus, Marshall Goldsmith, Overwhelm, Productive · Tagged with

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