We hear so much about re-designing our work day to fit everything in, but have you considered the things you could stop doing? Yes, you heard me……Stop Doing. When we’re amongst the detail and particularly when we’re feeling overwhelmed, the thoughts go to how am I ever going to fit it all in? We often don’t take time to reassess just our ‘Business as Usual’ tasks.  These task become automatic. They often are just labelled, ‘That’s just how we do it, we’ve always done it like that’ or ‘Oh that’s busy corporate life for you!’. 

Considering the concept to stop doing some tasks requires a good hard look at your daily to do, your weekly and monthly, your routine and your habits. It’s time to do an audit, look at what is really needed, question what’s the purpose of your tasks and alleviate some stress and overwhelm. Who really looks at that 10-page report you produce every month anyway? What can you stop doing? 

Stop, Audit, Review, Restructure………. 

  1. List and audit those weekly and monthly tasks, reports and processes – what is their purpose? Who utilises them? Are they still needed?
  2. Stop allowing others to dictate your diary. We all need to work in a flexible environment, of course things do pop up, but don’t allow the usual, demanding colleague or staff member hijack your diary. This not only teaches them that your time is precious too but also to respect your boundaries.
  3. Stop working weekends, particularly if it’s impacting your family time. Some projects require extra hours but working weekends to catch up or it’s a normal practice, is not respecting your own boundaries or your family’s. By stopping some tasks and restructuring, weekend work won’t be needed!
  4.  Stop putting up with staff or colleagues who don’t take ownership for their own responsibilities.  Are you that ‘team player’ that jumps in when a colleague hasn’t stepped up and you just find it easier to do it yourself? Stop it! Inform your colleague this is no longer an option for you.  These courageous conversations can be a game changer.
  5. Stop attending unnecessary meetings. Next time that meeting invite pops into your calendar, ask a few key questions to ensure you’re the right stakeholder to attend, it’s a good use of your time right now and can you delegate to a team member.
  6. Release control. Are you a micro-manager? Empower your team with trust and enhance engagement. Stop thinking you need to check every piece of work that goes out the door. Set expectations. Use empowering language, so staff know they’re trusted to own their tasks and their mistakes, but you have the faith in them.
  7. Stop trying to help all who stop by your office or desk. It’s great to be helpful, be a team player, collaborate on tasks and get the job done. When these constant interruptions or demands are being frequently requested from you when it’s a task when you had in a role 12 months ago, it’s really time you passed on your knowledge once and for all and move on.  
  8. Stop scheduling meetings on times or days you’re either already managing a full diary or it’s at a time you’re not at your most creative or engaged ie. After 4pm or if you’re really not a morning person, no meetings before 10am!
  9. Stop the morning rush. Not having your morning routine organised so you’re rushing around flustered even before you’ve reached the office contributes to feelings of stress and overwhelm. Reassess your morning routine, discuss it with your family so they also are on board and plan together.
  10. Stop staying behind that extra 2-3 hours most working days – this equates to 10-15 extra hours a week! Stop doing, audit your day/week, review what’s really needed and restructure for a more productive and fulfilling work experience and those extra hours won’t be needed.  Work smarter not harder!