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Start by stopping

There should always be two lists. One is the list of things you are going to start or continue doing. The other list is the number of things that you are going to stop doing.

In our business and professional life, we can easily become so enthralled with our inherited or created duties that we fail to consider if the time committed to performing those duties well is really getting us anywhere. Going through the routine is just that, routine and routine does not help anyone distinguish their performance from others. Making constant evaluations of the things that you commit valuable time to is not only a good idea, it is critical to your success.

Many people and companies repeatedly do things because they always have, and also because they can, and not because they should. When we start placing a greater value on doing or continuing to do the things that we know contribute to our progress, we are making decisions that we know are going to pay off. When we stop doing those things that don’t amount to much more than distractions, we free up valuable time that we should now devote to those things that are on the “keep or start doing list”.

The trap of filling your time with activities of very little value is an easy one to get caught in. Any job has the potential of filling the time allowed. Since we are at work at least eight hours a day, we may justify our existence by doing things that are of little value. Sooner or later, someone is going to notice. Then what? 

Our job must be a job that contributes to the success of the team by engaging in those activities that we know are going to make a positive contribution, because we know they are on the “doing list.”

Dennis Wade is the president and publisher of The Lawton Constitution. He can be reached at

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