Increase Productivity with a Don’t Do List


Most people say they don’t like meetings. They’re boring. Nothing gets accomplished. The same information could have been delivered by memo.

The leaders say, “We’ve got to make our meetings better.” They read books and attend seminars. They hire consultants. They buy better equipment.

The meetings improve. They pat themselves on the back. Success.

Or not.

Instead of trying to improve their meetings, maybe they should have eliminated them.

One of my favorite Peter Drucker quotes is, “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”

Go through your calendar. What meetings or conference calls could you safely eliminate?

Go through your tasks and project lists. What are you planning to do that should not be done at all?

Observe your daily work flow. Which steps could be eliminated? Which parts could be delegated?

Efficiency means doing things better. Effectiveness means doing the right things. It matters not how well you do things if they should not be done at all.

So try this: for the next seven days, compile a “don’t do” list. Write down everything you do that isn’t necessary or doesn’t contribute to your most important goals.

Take stock of whatever is left, whatever should be done. Look for ways to do them quicker, better, or more efficiently.

Make sure your partners and employees do the same. At your next office meeting…wait, never mind. Just send a memo.

Earn more and work less. Click here.


Are you getting the RIGHT things done?


three most important tasks for todayPeter Drucker once said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Far more important than “doing things right,” he said, is “doing the right things”.

Every day, I review my task lists and choose the three “most important tasks” for the day. My most important tasks are those which advance my most important objectives. My “MITs” go at the top of my list and I make an effort to do them before I do anything else. If I get these three things done, I consider it a good day.

Three is a good number, but sometimes there are only two. There are days when a fourth MIT slips through and makes it to my list, but I try to focus on no more than three.

Three MITs keeps me from getting overwhelmed by a longer list and gives me a sense of accomplishment. When I get my three MITs done, I then take care of less important tasks. Or, if it’s early in the day and I feel like it, I might add another MIT to the list.

At times, you may find it difficult to choose three MITs. You may have ten things that MUST get done today. No problem. Of the ten, which three are the MOST IMPORTANT? Make those your MITs and do them first.

Each day, you will have MITs and you will have other tasks. The other tasks may be important and need to be done. They may even be urgent. I’m not telling you to ignore these other tasks. Do them, but whenever possible, do them after you do your MITs.

The GTD methodology helps me to get things done. A daily list of MITs helps me to get the right things done.