Stop It!

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Take a few minutes to watch veteran US comedian Bob Newhart performing one of his most famous characters, Dr. Robert “Bob”.  It’s great fun but also has an important message that I use when coaching.


How much time do we spend doing things that add no value to our businesses or lives, or indeed even takes us backwards.  Note down your list of candidates for the “stop-it” pile and remind yourself everyday.  Here are five to start you off:

  1. Stop reading and watching the news.  Remember bad news sells papers
  2. Stop procrastinating with the tasks that you know you should be doing.  Make time in your diary for them and do them
  3. Stop checking your e-mails as soon as they come in.  Schedule an hour a day to deal with them
  4. Stop under-investing in yourself.  Take time, and invest money, to acquire and develop the skills you need to make yourself better at what you need to do
  5. Stop finding excuses and something or someone to blame when things go wrong…Take ownership!

Remember 80% of your results are delivered by 20% of your effort.

Who on earth thought you could manage time?  If you live to be 80 you will have 4160 weeks, each made up of seven days, each made up of 24 hours.

You can’t create more hours or extend the duration of a day so trying to manage it is futile (unless you are Dr Who).

What we really mean by “managing time” is, how and what you choose to do with your time.

Here is the brutal truth:


This is undeniable, unless you are currently held at Her Majesties Pleasure in which case, how did you get on this distribution list!?!

So the reason you didn’t get the things done that you know will propel your business forward (sales, proactive customer engagement, managing your team properly, learning new skills and ideas, planning… want me to carry on?) is because you CHOSE to do something else!!!  Oh dear!

So here are a few ideas that will get you focused on what’s really important:

  • Accept that you cannot do everything – you will frequently hear me extolling the virtues of a To-Do-List but why don’t you also write a “Stop-Doing-List”.  List down all the time wasters, distractions and low value stuff you waste your precious time on.  Make a plan to defer it, delegate or simply stop doing it
  • Value your time – literally apply a £ per hour to each of the tasks that you do.  If it can be done by someone else for less than you are worth when in front of customers then pay someone else to do it.  If doing your own filing is a better £ per hour use of your time, you need to re-check your business model
  • Set goals and make plans – if you don’t set goals and make plans then you will never get anything important done because you will allow your days to be taken up with trivia and “urgent” stuff.  My clients spend a day planning every 90 days and that’s one of the ways they really get their businesses moving forward

Kill procrastination – If you don’t kill procrastination it will kill you and your business.  Do the difficult and challenging stuff first thing, get it out of the way and just watch how your energy levels soar during the day