The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now (#9)

369 Comments

doggiesmile.jpg
This is how the world felt before Crackberries. (LeoLuigi)

You can find the transcript of the full podcast episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

“Not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance.

The reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.

Here are nine stressful and common habits that entrepreneurs and office workers should strive to eliminate. The bullets are followed by more detailed descriptions. Focus on one or two at a time, just as you would with high-priority to-do items. I’ve worded them in no-to-do action form:

1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers
Feel free to surprise others, but don’t be surprised. It just results in unwanted interruption and poor negotiating position. Let it go to voicemail, and consider using a service like GrandCentral (you can listen to people leaving voicemail) or Simulscribe (receive voicemails as e-mail).

2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night
The former scrambles your priorities and plans for the day, and the latter just gives you insomnia. E-mail can wait until 10am, after you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items…

3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time
If the desired outcome is defined clearly with a stated objective and agenda listing topics/questions to cover, no meeting or call should last more than 30 minutes. Request them in advance so you “can best prepare and make good use of the time together.”

4. Do not let people ramble
Forget “how’s it going?” when someone calls you. Stick with “what’s up?” or “I’m in the middle of getting something out, but what’s going on?” A big part of GTD is GTP — Getting To the Point.

5. Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only

I belabor this point enough. Get off the cocaine pellet dispenser and focus on execution of your top to-do’s instead of responding to manufactured emergencies. Set up a strategic autoresponder and check twice or thrice daily.

6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers
There is no sure path to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. Do an 80/20 analysis of your customer base in two ways–which 20% are producing 80%+ of my profit, and which 20% are consuming 80%+ of my time? Then put the loudest and least productive on autopilot by citing a change in company policies. Send them an e-mail with new rules as bullet points: number of permissible phone calls, e-mail response time, minimum orders, etc. Offer to point them to another provider if they can’t conform to the new policies.

7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize
If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. If you define the single most important task for each day, almost nothing seems urgent or important. Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of letting little bad things happen (return a phone call late and apologize, pay a small late fee, lose an unreasonable customer, etc.) to get the big important things done. The answer to overwhelm is not spinning more plates — or doing more — it’s defining the few things that can really fundamentally change your business and life.

8. Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7
Take at least one day off of digital leashes per week. Turn them off or, better still, leave them in the garage or in the car. I do this on at least Saturday, and I recommend you leave the phone at home if you go out for dinner. So what if you return a phone call an hour later or the next morning? 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.

9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should

Work is not all of life. Your co-workers shouldn’t be your only friends. Schedule life and defend it just as you would an important business meeting. Never tell yourself “I’ll just get it done this weekend.” Review Parkinson’s Law in 4HWW and force yourself to cram within tight hours so your per-hour productivity doesn’t fall through the floor. Focus, get the critical few done, and get out. E-mailing all weekend is no way to spend the little time you have on this planet.

It’s hip to focus on getting things done, but it’s only possible once we remove the constant static and distraction. If you have trouble deciding what to do, just focus on not doing. Different means, same end.

What other no-no’s would you add to the list?

###

Posted on: August 16, 2007.

Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.

Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

369 comments on “The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now (#9)

  1. DO NOT open any email or snail mail without first trashing (ruthlessly) everything you can. By getting rid of the chaff before you open the wheat you reduce the time you spend on email. Also, DO NOT allow email responses to go on forever. Set a kitchen timer for 1-2 minutes – train yourself to be concise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been liberated! Something so simple as telling people that you’ll only check emails twice a day, has lifted a great load from my shoulders. Just the psychological feeling of knowing that you’ll get to it when you’re ready is powerful.

    Like

  3. This post reminds me of Joe Calloway’s “Let It Go Speech” at the National Speaker’s Association Convention a few years ago. I was so inspired, I let go of an entire business…and doubled my revenue as a result.

    Love your book Tim and am committing to putting some of your tips into action! First step – Batching Email.

    Like

  4. I think there’s a key distinction on point #3. You need to figure out up front if the meeting is for *rapport* or for *results.*

    If it’s for rapport, put your git’er done mindset on the backburner, and put your *build a coalition* mindset on.

    If it’s for results, then yes — agenda in advance and time-budgets and outcomes (not activities.) If you don’t agree to the outcome/purpose, or you’re not the right person or the right people aren’t at the table, push back until your’e set for success.

    Like

  5. Hi 🙂
    great post, probably because I recognize a few points on there which I desperately need changing …. especially number 2&5 … being a bit of an email addict… Thanks for reminding me of the things I need to change!

    Like

  6. Great post! I have begun to “unplug” and found it to be really helpful. Especially the cellphone suggestion #8. This works wonders. Is there any reason to be tethered to the world 24/7? Nope. Thanx to you for the suggestions. Spot on as usual.

    Like

  7. Tim:
    You’re definitely nuts. In a good way.
    Some things I think you’re off base but on the biggest item , you’re very good. You get people thinking.

    Regarding Grand Central: I have it now. The problem is with the number of rings before voice mail kicks in (presuming I am not available). I had clients complain that they had waited toooo long (8 and more rings)before being able to leave a message. I checked it out. Way too long. Still holding my number to see if they come up with a way to control the number of rings.

    Good stuff:
    Jott. Combined with Google calendar is great.
    Pinger: Combined with Simulscribe. Very good.

    later….

    Like

  8. I actually disagree; I think To Do lists are very helpful in improving productivity. I think the problem is that most online To Do lists are way too complicated, and that’s why they don’t help much. I decided, a while ago, to create a much simpler To Do List organizer, and I finally released it!!! It’s called ZoToDo, and it’s a simple day based organizer. (Link in URL field)

    And by the way, I’m not spamming… promise. I manually found your blog, and posted this message. I did create the site though.

    Like

  9. Hello Tim,

    Surprisingly, I’m already doing several of these things, partly due to my not-quite-as-young-as-others age, perhaps?

    I own a cell phone but seldom turn it on. More often than not, when I do go to turn it on, the battery has died.

    People have learned not to call me!

    Email? Get a dialup connection where you pay by the minute. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to “batch processing”!

    And I’ll cut this short since I don’t want to ramble…!

    –Tom

    Like

  10. When I read your book and website, I feel so NORMAL… my friends and family always say: Tiffany, you’re in sales, how come you NEVER ANSWER your phone! Now when they say that, I’ll just quote a section from your book or website…

    Like

  11. thanks for your contribution to the world.. I’m studying to apply the principles you detail in your book. I’m nervous, but I’m committed to having a balance and richly abundant life!!!

    Like

  12. Signed up fopr Simulscribe last fall– have not listened to a voice mail since. I have a record of the phone number, can file it, call from my BB, etc. Had a problem with service issue and was in touch with the CEO of Simulscribe. Everything should work this well. Thanks Tim.

    Like

  13. If you do not know how to intuitiviely prioritize, learn how to do it. Learn the difference between the important and merely urgent, for example.

    Like

  14. As a freelance web developer, this is what I need. I already heard this stuff before but I didn’t pay attention. Thanks for this post, I will not check my email once in every 5 minutes now that I have read your not-to-do list. Continue writing on these topics, more power!

    Like

  15. Tim-

    Great Post! I really found this one inspiring. I personally love #8:Do not carry a cellphone or crackberry 24/7.
    I recently ran out of the house to go to work and forgot my phone. I freaked for about 2 minutes, then remembered your advice. After awhile, i honestly completely forgot about it. And i felt lighter mentally and physically. No annoying interruptions and chit chat calls, and no bulky feeling in my pocket. The only thing i missed was my alarm feature for lunch, but i was so in the zone, i got more done and did not need it.
    Keep up the good works, Tim.

    Chuck

    Like

    • Great list of bad habits to stop 🙂 I’m with you with on this one. How about “Twittering” and “FaceBooking” LoL 🙂 a lot of people are addicted to these two as well.

      Like

  16. Great post. It is highly focused on the “pre” freedom portion of the 4HWW, by which I mean before you have been able to escape the office.

    I have had the good fortune to be well on my way to a lifestyle of freedom. I recently moved to New Zealand from San Francisco and I do web consulting/programming for two companies and run my own e-commerce site. I have spent years getting my life completely automated and running as efficiently and effictively as possible. I find myself able to get done all I need to quickly and then I have the problem of what to do with the rest of my time.

    Now I am facing the problem of “filling the void” and am trying to do it without 100% leasure activities. So my list for those people that have had some success with the principles in Tim’s book and are now figuring out a good “NO” list for their lives in general I offer these tips:

    1) don’t live a lopsided life. – Make sure to have balance in your life. It’s great to be able to travel endlessly, eat anything you want, go to the spa and pub all the time and play games or watch sports 24/7, but it is ultimately unfullfilling, especially if in excess. Instead create a life of balance.

    2) Avoid PASSIVE activities and habits. – The fastest way to being dull, bored and unhappy is to constantly engage in passive habits or activities. Some examples are:
    a) Watching TV excessively
    b) playing online games excessively
    c) drinking alcohol or eating when you are bored instead of as an occasional treat
    d) driving everywhere instead of walking
    e) using drugs
    f) not excercising
    g) doing too much of one thing
    h) gambling at casinos or online
    i) following manufactured drama in the news or on TV
    j) having no activities in your life that challenge you to grow
    k) having negative or unchallenging relationships with other people

    3) Don’t abuse your body
    This is a big no-no. You need your body and mind to live a happy fulfilling life and if you have made it this far, it should be your number one priority.

    By creating a good foundation for your body by excercising, eating right, staying active, managing stress, breathing well, avoiding toxicity (people, chemicals, environments, foods), avoiding too much alcohol/coffee/sugar/etc, you can put yourself in a place to be easily inspired, healthy, full of energy and vitality. It will shine through on all aspects of your life from your work to your relationships. Just look at Tim. At the base of all that he does he is adamant about eating what is right for “him” and exercising in a way that helps his body and mind be their best. This means different things for different people, but we all know deep down inside what we need to do.

    If you have reached this point and have the time and money freedom, you owe it to yourself to avoid the big “lifestyle” NOs mentioned above and to lead a self-challenging, balanced and physically active life. Then when you enjoys the “treats” of the world they will be enjoyable and not glutonous or health undermining.

    Matthew

    Like

  17. Brilliant list – Yes time crutches are such a huge waste of time. I’ll be implementing your list right away!

    Like

  18. Tim, I couldn’t agree more. I was one of these people that had to be “in touch” at all times. I had a blackberry and a 2nd cell phone, I had wireless internet from my phone carrier in case I couldn’t open documents on my blackberry, I had 2 email addresses and probably checked each one 10 times a day. I read your book, bought your CDs and implemented your processes and my life has changed dramatically. I am down to 1 cell phone, I got rid of my blackberry and only check email 3 times per day. I am working on trying to check even less. I thought if I wasn’t connected, I wasn’t accomplishing anything. Quite the contrary. I now accomplish 10x as much without being connected. Thanks again!!!

    Chris McClatchey
    The Housing Market, LLC

    Like

  19. Tim,

    Being that I help Business Owner everyday, I agree with your outline. I have already read the book. I believe the key thing I would tell everyone is you have to control your business not let it control you.

    The best advice you give that has worked for myself is the emails in the morning. I am still working on the night ones. Ihave found if you don’t answer emails first thing and you schedule then your day goes much better.

    Like

  20. Yeah, I found that I was also an e-mail addiction, and checked e- mail everytime. But I found that was wasting time. So I won’t do that any longer.
    Just do as Tim said..Haha,,

    Like

  21. Tim;
    Maybe #10 thing to stop doing is: filling your life with noise. Every once in a while, turn everything off, and I mean everything. Listen to the silence. Think! Crazy as it sounds, you’re not wasting time doing this.

    Obviously, you can’t do this all the time, but at least once a week, shut it all down. Sort of a variant on “The low information diet”.

    Like

  22. Do not do anything if someone else can, exept if may affect you with more than $50 your in/out cash balance ratio. Note. I will not be surprised if some of this comments will be in the author next book.

    Like

  23. There should be an email addiction center… I try desperately to only check two or three times a day… but its harder to quit than smoking!!!

    Any recommendations?

    I usually last like 2 days of being good.. then go back to my old habits of every 30 minutes or so…

    Like

  24. Great Post Tim!

    I am currently reading your book and sure i am learning something to make myself more productive.

    My new found and confirmed NOT-TO-DO List will be:

    1) Not to answer phone each time when it rings (as thou i will die without that call)

    2) Not to rattle on and build “too much a relationship” especially when the caller is unknown to me

    3) Not to wake up in morning and read newspapers or check soccernet immediately

    4) Not to check my emails several times a day

    5) Not to procrastinate and leave the toughest tasks to the last

    6) Not to multi-tasks many thins at one time

    7) Not to chat online (MSN) with friends and clients when i am doing something online

    8) Not to watch FREE online Movies too often without control

    9) Not to Not Plan my activities or tasks to complete the following day

    PS: I am reading the outsourcing portion in your book now…and i am really thinking of outsourcing most of my not-so-critical stuff out…

    PPS: Understand you check your email every Monday..Hope you read all these comments once per week minimum also…Hope to hear something from you…

    Cheers,
    Sean

    Like

  25. Pingback: Australian Anthill
  26. One problem with trying to restrict how often you check your email is that when you need to send an email, you always see there is new mail.

    Writing a new message is not that same as checking your incoming messages, but most always both get done. Its just too damn temping to peek in to your inbox when you see there is new message sitting there.

    I keep my e-mail client minimized all day long until it is the appropriate/scheduled times to check my mail. I write emails without using the email client, to do this I made a new icon for just composing fresh emails. And keep the Icon in my tool bar. Works slick, i write dozens o emails a day without being temped to check what messages are in my inbox.

    To make this icon, Right click on the desk top select New Shortcut. Enter in “mailto:” You can change the icon in the settings. I have dragged the icon to the toobar from the desk top.

    Like

  27. I discovered you post via the Anthill Blog and really enjoyed it and the points you raise are so right. I am a crackberry addict (and am okay with this) and work too much (but enjoy it so not really work). I think point Number 3 is a great one and is something that I have recently identified and been working on to address. Having clearly defined meetings and identifying the focus up front (or if there actually is one) is a smart use of your time.

    Like

  28. One more for the list… love your site Tim.

    The NY Times just released a study that happier people don’t watch TV. I can attest to this.

    I went over 5 years (in my 20’s) living in Los Angeles…no TV. It was incredibly liberating and I would recommend that everyone take at least a month off just to see what it’s like. You FIND TIME to do all kinds of things that you “never had time for.”

    It’s tough to just “not watch.” For best results, remove it all together.

    Like

  29. As a Gen Y entrepreneur I personally find these issues so important, but so hard to follow up on. The best way to master them I find is to focus on one for a week, then once you have mastered it continue onto the next one.

    Like

  30. You have been a eye opener, Tim. I am gradually going to be using a few of your tips into my practice as, quite frankly, it is the only way to make it in today’s environment. Thanks a ton.

    Like

  31. #10 Never, ever, ever read the comments after a blog post, especially when there are 158 of them. At least 40% will be “Great post”, another 40% will be “Go to MY blog” and 18% will be “Blah, blah, blah not so the point.” leaving only 2% worth reading — mine and ..well.. mine…

    Cool dog. And go to MY dog’s blog [LOL — nice try! Close 🙂 ]

    Like

  32. My father was the master of ignoring a ringing telephone. I remember him ignoring the phone whenever we were doing something important like having dinner. He had priority, nothing was going to interupt the family meal.

    His actions left a huge impression on me which has served me well throughout my life. I love to ignore ringing phones during a conversation. I never break eye contact or lose concentration. The other person usually goes nuts. “Aren’t you going to answer that?” I laugh to myself because people have become Pavlolv’s dog. The phone rings and people instantly reach for it.

    Like

  33. Something I found helpful is not allowing myself to go to bed until I have sat down for at least 15 minutes and planned exactly what I ‘m going to do the next day on paper.

    Like

  34. Hi, Tim!

    I hope it’s all right that I wrote a eensy-weensy article about your own article. The link to yours is actually in plain view in the article. It’s your not-to-do list. I just had to share it with people who might happen by my blogsite. The blogsite actually belongs to my company, hence the plug at the bottom. But if you care to read it, I think you’ll recognize it by the title: “I’m Not President Of The US!”

    But your not-to-dos are helping me quite a lot. A number of those bad habits are mine, mostly because I did not even realize they were bad habits.

    Again, thanks!

    Claudia Garcia

    Like

  35. If I am to add to the Not-To-Do list, it will have to be “Don’t be jack of all trades.”

    I am a company writer and just because my deadlines are 2 days, a week, etc., some of my colleagues would ask me to do data-entry tasks when they’re up against a deadline. I said no today with no explanation whatsoever. I mean I wouldn’t ask any of them to write for me if I am up against my own deadlines.

    Like

  36. I’ve been using myfax.com, http://tinyurl.com/czgx4q, to create digital copies of my real estate transactions. I have to hold on to the certain docs for a period of time, but just in case I don’t get a chance to file it right away, i use myfax as my backup plan. I send myself contracts among other things so that it will create a pdf file to me to keep my clients updated.

    This presents another problem for me though. Unnecessary paper begins to collect itself on my desk. Don’t over organize as I do into neat piles. God for bid someone has to take over my lot; they might not know my system.

    Do not save for later what should be organized today.

    Like

  37. Oh and one more thing: Do not go to the office and socialize or get sucked into Facebook or other websites that can become time sucks. You should know what draws your attention away from work. Guilty.

    Like

  38. #10 Never handle the same piece of paper/email more than once.

    #11 Only handle a paper document/email if you can finish the task you are about to start.

    The two rules have worked greatly to avoid clutter and increase productivity/focus/quality over the last four years.

    Like

  39. This is such a helpful list. Time is so precious, and emailing excessively can really eat up far too much time. Great advice on how to prioritize our lives and use our time wisely. Thank you!

    Like

  40. Great insight Tim – brings that Ferris Bueller quote to mind: “life moves pretty fast.. if you don’t stop and look around once in while, you could miss it.” – He was a bit of life hacker.. at least when it came to beating the rules of high school. Take care –
    Ben

    Like

  41. Hi, Tim,
    I am Chinese in China. And I am reading your book at present.
    You are powerful man.

    I think that point 9 is important and new for me.
    I have no friend exclude working friend. But you know, working friend is not friend in deed when you need.
    And I will try to make new non-working friend.

    Best regards.
    JC

    Like

  42. Hi,

    thanks for this article – inspiring as always.
    A friend of mine and I read your book – interestingly enough he is now travelling the world (currently in Latin America, learning spanish) and I am about to start up with my own 4-hour-per-week business :-).

    To all out there who doubt what is written above: try it and then you’ll see the difference.

    Ok, that’s it for today – sun is shining outside: I want to go for a run 🙂

    Andi

    Like

  43. I learn a lot from these posts, I am off to keep reading the 4HWW to try and make changes in my life for the better… I am at a stage where something has to change for the better… I love my job but it lacks effectiveness at times…

    Like

  44. I’m curious what habits you all have found to be give yourself more energy. Specifically I’m interested in things related to nutrition, exercise, and sleep patterns.

    Like

  45. Prioritization is key… but it’s still tough to fight the urge to overwork, when you’re part of a start-up, for example, or any time company culture encourages it. It’s unfortunate, but usually organizations that trumpet their embrace of “work/life balance” are the worst offenders when it comes to overwork.

    Like

  46. I actual use the email checking rule, but when I have idle time where I’m waiting for a client (or similar), I keep returning to my inbox (or surfing for irellvant info). I really shold be working on my “muse” instead, but I’m having a hard time to justify this to myself because my client is paying me for my time (even waiting time).
    Any good advice or peptalk on this?!

    Like

  47. Just want to add that yes, Grand Central was bought by Google but it is now in open beta and this new Googlefied phone control system will rok for this group. REALLY!! Why? Because you can set different voicemail boxes based on who is calling you! So for one group you can say… I am only reachable by email, for another you can say give a link to your website (Muse) for orders, etc, etc…. And you can do other amazing things with it!

    Right now it is invite only, but that will change soon I am sure.

    Like

  48. Tim,

    Read the book — LOVE IT — LOVE IT — LOVE IT!!

    Landlord by trade, working on the techniques in your book, so starting here, I’ll make it short and sweet. Thanks for the info and maybe I’ll be seein’ ya!!

    This list is the first place I’ve started and so far it’s working great. Now, working on the income stream to get a bit fatter.

    Like

  49. Tim,

    I have another question.

    Having read lots of your inspiring blogs, I wonder what is your opinion on the fact there is a great divide between those who try and live out the efficiency/fulfilling ways you suggest and those who don’t. How are we all supposed to effectively co-exist efficiently bearing in mind that no man is an island?

    Like

  50. Thanks for the post. I know I have trouble with No. 5 the checking of the email, your idea to batch check is a good one that I have tried to put in pratice.
    It doesn’t always work, me being a tiny bit obsessive complusive but it’s all good, so thanks.

    Like

  51. 10. Become extremely good at extracting the important bites from conversations while becoming ultra efficient and well liked.

    This is done using NVC and makes getting what you want from life easier and faster.

    Like

  52. Tim I have been meaning to say this for 2 months now, but I have a serious man crush on you. You have inspired a freshman in college to take on the world by turning the mantra, “What’s the worst that could happen” into “What’s the best that could happen.”

    You are by far one of my greatest heroes and and rank slightly below Jesus in my book.

    Like

  53. Hey Tim,

    Less is more. Minimize the number of activities to maximize the activities themselves.

    Analyze what activities throughout the day give you the most desired results. Then, focus on them while ruthlessly cutting the rest out (or, how you suggested, if absolutely needed to get done then batch-process them in one quick burst).

    You only have a limited amount of time and energy throughout the day. By having the least amount of activities to do, and all of those activities being important to you, you can maximize doing them for maximum results (and happiness).

    Thanks for the not-to-do list, so true how it’s just as–if not more–important to focus on not doing something to allow maximum resources to do what we need,
    Oleg

    Like

  54. This is a really great post. Thanks Tim.

    Interesting you mention about not answering withheld numbers and also turning off phones.

    I find it interesting when people answer phones in meetings and then say “Hi sorry I am in a meeting, can I call you back?”. That is crazy!

    I bet they don’t answer the phone while sitting in on the pot! Maybe they do I don’t know. The point is why answer? Just focus on the meeting and get to the call when we are done.

    This is probably one of the biggest challenges we all face today. Too many things to take us away from what we are trying to achieve.

    Thanks for great information.
    Matt

    Like

  55. Hi Tim, your book is truly inspiring. Not only has it given me a reality check but it has also pushed me to start developing a business idea i’ve been thinking about for a long long time. If my idea gets off the ground, I hope it will enable me to pursue my life-long passion – helping animals! Thanks! 🙂

    Like

  56. Hi Tim,

    The not to do list is a big challenge when working for others and they expect you to “live by your phone”… and respond strait away to email and txt’s instantly… as they see that as a value statement in their own business…

    I have found that in my own business I can deffinetly use these methods with much more ease, but in other roles in other people’s business it is a much bigger challenge.

    Great peice though…

    Like

  57. I believe people might benefit from discontinuing the use of “Tired.” and “busy” as responses to the question “How are you?”
    These answers used as badges of honour or symbols of a valuable life reflect an absence of joy.
    If you are always tired or busy, what is your quality of life?

    Like

  58. It is amazing how hard it is to break the aways connected habit.

    I also think I need to embrase the letting go of trying to please those super high maintenance clients – stick w/ the 80% that bring the joy not the 20% you wish would jump off a bridge

    Like

  59. Thanks for getting me back on track Tim. In the cold north of Finland this winter, I have found my email and internet to be my connection with those back home, but once again, I am fooling myself!

    I have forgotten my routine, which usually starts with a daily meditation, not checking email!

    Now, thanks to this post, I remember what I so often share with others; it’s all about balance.

    And we as adults can teach our children to do the same. However, we need to be cognizant of what they are observing us doing, not saying, because this is how they really learn to prioritize their behaviors and activities.

    So, I would add another preventive “Not to do” item for people with children in their lives: When it is time To Be Present for your children, Do Not distract yourself with your Crackberry or Laptop or I-Phone or Cell Phone.

    Happy New Year! Thanks for helping me dial in my most effective self so I can have an awesome 2010! Off I go, headed for the sunshine, which is what I really need to balance right now.

    Like

  60. Cutting the time killers from my day was the first advice I implemented from the book. What a powerful idea. Plus I put myself on an information diet. I did cold-turkey for a week, now I keep an eye on major news a few minutes a week, but not like the hours I was spending before. Years ago I never watched the news or read the paper, that was a habit I picked up over the past few years. Most of it doesn’t affect me at all, so it’s just wasted time.

    Kudos, Tim! and thanks.

    Like

  61. Habits ultimately become our masters, so I want to cultivate only those that generate happiness, health and wealth.

    Great list Tim. Your theme seems to center around who or what is the locus of control. Are we going to be the masters of our own destiny or slaves to email, cell phones, and busy-bodies?

    Like

  62. I have found that in my role as a project manager for an employer they expect me to respond to comm’s at an instant, but I truly believe that the 4HWW approach is for me in my own business ventures. Thanks Tim

    Like

  63. Tim,

    One good idea deserves another. Have you ever considered the “why-do” list? Life became simpler when I started keeping one.

    Cheers,
    Clark

    Like

  64. Thank you…I am amazd of what I found. I live in latinamerica and having studied in the US makes you feel chalange to bring productive techniques to this side of the globe. I purpose. Thank you again, even though I have to read carefully cause you ought to be since there´s a lot of literature. I am looking at your biography, that should bring me some feedback to trust your writing. Ok.

    Like