The Sh*t You Keep Doing That Doesn’t Matter : Under30CEO The Sh*t You Keep Doing That Doesn’t Matter : Under30CEO
arrow
Join the Under30CEO Community We deliver tips, tools and inspiration for your business. Daily to your inbox.

The Sh*t You Keep Doing That Doesn’t Matter

| August 22, 2012 | 18 Comments

I always feel busy. When I’m not even that busy getting anything “done”, I still feel busy. When someone asks me, “How does your week look?” it would be a personal affront to my career and my image to say, “I don’t really have much at all to do.” However, when I really look at each and every one of my weeks, I see that I do a lot of shit that does not matter.

Do as I say, not as I do.

Stop doing this…

  1. Overprepping rather than preparing. If someone says, “I really don’t need a more elaborate slidedeck/brochure/presentation if you don’t have one”, don’t spend your time putting one together. The person just said that they ultimately don’t care. Nothing says that you don’t listen and don’t value your own time more than doing exactly what they said not to do. Spend more time fostering that relationship and seeing what that particular person is trying to solve.
  2. Making introductory sales calls to people on Monday morning or late Friday afternoon. Nothing says “I have no concept of anyone’s priorities besides my own/my dad said the early bird gets the worm” more than a Monday morning call to an executive. Nothing says “I love checking activities off lists without ever getting anywhere” more than a Friday 4 pm call.
  3. Messing with a well trained team. I constantly bother my team…getting in their business and thinking that I know better. I don’t. The last time I knew better was when I hired them and put them in charge of what they do now.
  4. Getting sucked in to the black hole of Internet knowledge. I love learning, and I legitimately read more in one month now than I EVER read in 4 years of college, but there are times when I honestly wonder whether I really needed to learn that much more about the history of conversion forms. At some point, there is diminishing utility (yes, I did make it out of that college).
  5. Making meetings longer than they have to be. I hate meetings; everyone hates meetings. However, sometimes I feel like my worth as a ‘leader’ might be directly tied to how long I can espouse “wisdom” on one Monday morning. If that Monday’s meeting is only 15 minutes long, am I only ¼ as wise as I thought? Perhaps, but my team is 300% happier and more productive.
  6. Thinking that you have to be in the office for the company to run or for the world to continue turning. I hate to admit it, but my company runs better when I’m traveling. It’s strangely exhilarating and simultaneously a feeling of complete obsoleteness.
  7. Thinking that your way is the only way or the best way. The number of times that I have caught myself questioning the way something was scanned and sent to a client or about the color of the blue ink in a logo…really? As many greats (probably Greek philosophers) have said, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Pick when it will matter.
  8. Concentrating on an ever growing to do list and never purging. Evaluate and edit your to-do list frequently and cross things off that don’t matter because they will crowd the things that actually do. The things that matter are typically tied to your goals and milestones (plus the random but necessary chore). However, if you think activities equal accomplishments, you will work with an empty hole in your soul. I know, because I’ve been there. Move the car, don’t just rev the engine. If you’re in the engine revving mode, take the rest of the day off. You’re just burning valuable gas that you may need for a real journey.
  9. Checking your email more than a couple of times a day. No explanation here needed besides Refresh…refresh…refresh…refresh.

What’s on your “sh*t to stop doing NOW”  list?

P.S. If you want to be more productive, you might also like this post that my colleague, Amanda Butterworth, wrote on the best free time management apps. It’s been so hot right now on our blog.

Alexandra Gibson is the Managing Director for OttoPilot Media, a digital marketing firm in Washington, DC.  She wrote her first business plan at age 11…she’s been entrepreneurially intolerable since then. Be sure to follow her on Twitter- @gibsondm

Opt In Image
Awesome People + Awesome Places
Travel around the world while making new friends

Under30Experiences curates awesome experiences around the world for young travelers.

Tags: , , ,

Category: Personal Branding, Startup Advice

  • http://eyesontherise.com/ Ken McClinton

    Great article Alexandra! It is such a simple concept to give a higher priority to the tasks that give us the greatest results and yet so few of us actually do it. I have personally found that when I write down everything I need to do and schedule it according to priority, I am much more likely to get it done than if I was managing it in my head. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://eyesontherise.com/ Ken McClinton

    Great article Alexandra! It is such a simple concept to give a higher priority to the tasks that give us the greatest results and yet so few of us actually do it. I have personally found that when I write down everything I need to do and schedule it according to priority, I am much more likely to get it done than if I was managing it in my head. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://eyesontherise.com/ Ken McClinton

    Great article Alexandra! It is such a simple concept to give a higher priority to the tasks that give us the greatest results and yet so few of us actually do it. I have personally found that when I write down everything I need to do and schedule it according to priority, I am much more likely to get it done than if I was managing it in my head. Thanks for sharing!

  • Alexandra Gibson

    Thanks Ken! I’m glad that it struck a chord. I also think that’s important to write things down and then prioritize, but remember that it’s okay to NOT do some things that you write down when it becomes clear that they really don’t matter. :) (appreciate you reading it and commenting!)

  • ValerieAJackson

    Great article! Organizing the day into what really needs to get done and things I just poke my nose into can be huge!

  • Alexandra Gibson

    Yes- it will be amazing how much you can get done in less time if you really focus a few hours uninterrupted (I know that’s not a profound statement!).

    Side note: give yourself a set amount of time for the normal time sucks like Facebook, Pinterest, online shopping, and other guilty pleasures or else you will go through withdrawals!

  • http://twitter.com/kurtmrry Kurt Murray

    Purging my list right now!
    Thanks for the insight

  • http://twitter.com/kurtmrry Kurt Murray

    Purging my list right now!
    Thanks for the insight

  • Pingback: Weekly Roundup: Week of August 19, 2012 – Sh*t You Do, Retail Business, Leadership - CEO Blog Nation Beta

  • The One World

    I absolutely agree that people should check email far less frequently than they currently do. Once or twice a day is all you need…any more than that and your sucking the productivity right out of your day.
    Thanks for the reminder!
    Cece
    http://www.theoneworldinitiative.com

  • http://under30ceo.com MattWilsontv

    Really really like the idea of not making sales calls on Monday or Friday. You aren’t going to hear back anyway, but the fact that you aren’t thinking about anyone else’s priorities except your own is a really important concept.

  • http://twitter.com/JGaub10 Janne Gaub

    I’d never really thought about purging a to-do list, but it makes a lot of sense – eventually, tasks outlive their usefulness. Great article overall, thanks for the tips.

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    Developing
    strategy before you decide what to do is well-worn business advice. Every
    consultant worth listening has uttered this notion to a client at some
    point.Thanks for the share!

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    Developing
    strategy before you decide what to do is well-worn business advice. Every
    consultant worth listening has uttered this notion to a client at some
    point.Thanks for the share!

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    Developing
    strategy before you decide what to do is well-worn business advice. Every
    consultant worth listening has uttered this notion to a client at some
    point.Thanks for the share!

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    Developing
    strategy before you decide what to do is well-worn business advice. Every
    consultant worth listening has uttered this notion to a client at some
    point.Thanks for the share!

  • http://twitter.com/BAEZVAM MANUEL BAEZ

    Great article… More like a wake up call!!!

  • http://twitter.com/BAEZVAM MANUEL BAEZ

    Great article… More like a wake up call!!!