What shouldn't you be doing?

If you do a quick read through the internet, you’ll find all sorts of lists that can help you out.

5 Things you can do to increase sales!

21 steps towards solving your fire-ant problem!!!

6 Steps to create the perfect Hikaru Dorodango (this one is real – and it’s actually pretty interesting).

A lot of these are really helpful resources, but I thought it was refreshing to see a list of things NOT to do.

Tim Ferris – the author of the 4 Hour Workweek had this as a topic recently on his blog.  The not to do list – 9 habits to stop now.  (I haven’t read the book yet, but I have it in hand and it’s next on my list).

Tim’s list is focused on things that will keep you from being productive.  It’s a great list and discussion overall, definitely take a look.  Some of them are more appropriate to a corporate setting, but here are a few that I especially agreed with.:

3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time  (This was critical when I was at a previous job).

8. Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7       (I especially liked his point about real priorities…)

“As one reader put it to a miffed co-worker who worked 24/7 and expected the same: ?I?m not the president of the US. No one should need me at 8pm at night. OK?you didn?t get a hold of me. But what bad happened?? The answer? Nothing.”

4. Do not let people ramble (fairly self-explanatory, but often easier said than done).

He also suggests batching email delivery to 1 or 2 times a day and setting expectations to others that you won’t be responding right away.  I think it’s a great idea but I haven’t tried it yet.

So that got me to thinking about other things that I would recommend not doing – not necessarily as a productivity approach, just in general.

  1. Stop dressing to other people’s expectations.  There’s certainly a need to dress appropriately for your job/business – but in my opinion, it’s just as important to be yourself.  If you’re not a suit and tie kind of guy, then it’s okay to wear business casual to almost any kind of function – especially in 2007.
  2. Stop trying to sell at every opportunity!  It’s amazing to me the number of people I run into that are always in ‘sales’ mode, even when I don’t know them.  People are very unlikely to buy from you unless they know you, like you and trust you.  If you try selling to them at every opportunity, they will never get to that point.
  3. Stop saying yes to everything.  As a small business owner you always want to be perceived as the can-do resource that can handle anything and everything.  Although you need to be careful about how you say no – especially to a client, in the long run you will be better off if you focus on things you know you’ll excel at and that will really help you in the long run.
  4. Stop keeping everything.  This is one that I need work on – I have a bad habit (as my wife will often remind me…) of hanging on to stuff that realistically I’ll never touch again.  If you haven’t used in a couple of weeks, throw it out.
  5. Stop reading / watching the news (or at least cut back).  I think this has gotten to be more important in the last couple of years.  It’s good to be informed, but it’s certainly not good for you to be inundated in the bleak scare tactics that most news organizations are using these days to get attention.  Do you really need to hear all of the excruciating details of the tragedy of the day…again…for the 3rd time today?  No – you’ll be much healthier mentally if you shut it off.

Those are a few of my ideas – anything you are currently doing that you think you should stop?

How about things you notice other people doing that you think are unproductive or just un-helpful?  I’d love to hear some ideas.

Shawn Kinkade  www.aspirekc.com

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