To Do or Not To Do?

By Maureen Kanwischer
Momentum Business Consulting

How many of you have a To Do list on your desk?

I do. In fact, I have several. A couple take the form of post-it notes for the quick things I need to remember to do. The second To Do list is an actual list that outlines all my tasks for the day or week. That's the list that gives me immense pleasure as I cross out each item as it is completed. And the third, and perhaps the most important, is my mega To Do list also known as my marketing plan. It delineates the annual goals I have for my company by quarter.

For those of you who have developed a set of strategic goals, it's time to review your metrics on how you are doing at achieving those goals. If there are some that are lagging, it's time to investigate why. I suspect that many of you will find that you simply don't have time to tend to the new goals because you and your staff are busy doing your jobs. That's where the Not To Do list comes in.

In order to achieve most strategic goals, it means you and your company are going to have to do some things differently. And in order for that to happen, you have to not do some things. Your company's resources need to be aligned with your strategy. If you and other staff members continue to spend precious resources on activities that don't line up, then you are not being true to your strategy. You will waste time, energy and money. You'll never reach your goals.

What things are truly critical to your company?

If you took a really hard look at what your company does on a daily basis, you would be surprised at how much you could eliminate - thus freeing up resources for what's really important. Over time, companies build waste into their systems. We don't do it on purpose. It just kinda happens. And before we know it, we are spending resources on tasks that are not important to the success of the business.

Years ago, I had a sales manager who insisted on a trip report after each sales call. This was in addition to entering all the same information in our CRM system. And all these years later, it still bothers me. 1.) Because it was a duplication of efforts, and 2.) Because he never read them. I think it was a practice he put into place before CRM systems were around. He kept requiring the reports because that's what sales managers do. Right?

On second thought, I am being kind. He was a jerk.

The point is: Over time, we continue to do tasks that are no longer necessary or serve any greater purpose. Are there things in your organization that fall into the "because that's the way we do it category"? How many activities have outlived the reason they were originally initiated? How much time and effort do we put into assignments that aren't going anywhere? If what you are doing doesn't align with your goals or haven't been determined to be critical to running your business efficiently, then dump them.

I encourage you to determine what you can add to your Not To Do list. Once you stop doing things that are not important to your strategic goals, you will find there is plenty of time and energy to implement new ways of doing things that will help you achieve your goals.

To Do list or Not To Do list. Is there really a question?

Copyright 2011
Feel free to publish this article to your own site as long as you give credit: Maureen Kanwischer of Momemtum Business Consulting and link to my website: Thank you.