Why You Need a Stop-Doing List (and How To Build One)


A to-do list is a classic way to stay on track and remain productive throughout the workday. However, accomplishing tasks isn’t the only way to stay focused on your goals. In order to grow as a business owner, there are certain things you need to stop doing.

Bad habits can hold you back from being successful. Luckily, with the new year starting, there is no better time to evaluate the poor practices hurting your productivity and work to eliminate them from your daily routines.

Rather than thinking about the things you can do to grow your business this year, consider what behaviors you need to stop doing in order to become successful. By creating a “stop-doing” list, you can remind yourself of the bad practices that are preventing you from achieving your goals.

A stop-doing list can free up your time, put you in a better mood, and make it easier for you to get through your workday. Let’s take a look at how you can create a stop-doing list – and what you can do to ensure necessary tasks are still getting done.

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What is a Stop-Doing List?

When you acknowledge the tasks or behaviors that you don’t enjoy doing and vow to stop doing them, you’re giving yourself the freedom to focus on what you love. By creating a stop-doing list, you’re making a promise to yourself to do less of what you hate and more of what you love – helping you stay excited about your work.

Your stop-doing list can include both personal and professional tasks or behaviors. Here’s an example of a stop-doing list created by marketing expert Seth Godin:

I will stop:

  1. Keeping score in games I don’t need to win
  2. Keeping score in games I can’t win
  3. Wasting time on people I can’t please
  4. Ignoring the side effects of my personal choices
  5. Giving into the resistance without realizing I was
  6. Reading my Amazon reviews
  7. Letting other people decide if I was doing a good job
  8. Trying so hard when it came to persuading other people to change their minds
  9. Making lists like this one. Except now
  10. Cleaning industrial dough mixers
  11. Walking into glass doors
  12. Biking without a helmet
  13. Cutting large blocks of Styrofoam while barefoot
  14. Working for jerks

Creating Your Own Stop-Doing List

Let’s break down a step-by-step guide to creating your own stop-doing list.

Step 1: Create a Master Task List

As an entrepreneur, you have a lot on your plate. To begin weeding out the tasks you enjoy from the things you may want to stop doing, you need to take a look at your day-to-day activities.

Create a master task list by looking at your to-do lists, calendars, or project management software. Evaluate everything you’ve completed over the past quarter and write down each item, whether you love it or hate it. Think about your personal tasks, including items from your morning, nightly, and weekend routines.

Finally, complete your list by adding your unique habits. If there are certain practices you feel the need to follow or personal challenges holding you back, add them to the list.

Step 2: Filter Down Your List

Once your master task list is complete, it’s time to start eliminating possible steps or projects. The easiest place to start is with your work tasks.

Ask yourself if each work task is absolutely necessary for your success. If you believe that you can still achieve your goals if you eliminate this task, cross it off your list and stop doing it. For all other items left on your list, find the tasks that can be completed by another individual. If it doesn’t need to be finished by you personally, make a note.

Next, consider your personal routines and habits. Ask yourself what drains your energy and leaves you feeling mentally unhealthy. Find the tasks that you dread doing and prevents you from being happy. Anything that holds you back should be considered for your stop-doing list.

Step 3: Find an Alternative

Unfortunately, there will be some tasks on your master task list that you can’t eliminate completely. However, recognizing the behaviors, practices, or tasks that are preventing you from being successful can help you make the right choices to be more productive.

If your to-do list is mainly full of poor habits, start making smarter decisions and being conscious of those decisions. When you start focusing on making productive changes, you’ll find that your bad habits will fall to the side.

For professional tasks that you no longer wish to do, consider outsourcing. If you can’t eliminate a task completely, finding an employee or virtual assistant that can ensure the tasks get done without adding additional stress to you.

Automation Agency can help you reduce stress by taking your tech & design related marketing tasks off your hands. With Automation Agency, you can stay productive and focus on the stuff you actually enjoy.

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About The Author

Carl Taylor

Carl Taylor is the Founder & CEO of Automation Agency. For the past 10 years Carl has been building businesses and marketing them online through the use of Sales Funnels, Email Marketing Automation, Landing Pages, and Wordpress Websites. Carl is also a #1 author and highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted thousands of businesses across various industries worldwide.