S For Stop
S For Stop
Yesterday I talked about reflecting and I shared a few benefits you can derive from incorporating this into your daily routine. As you reflect, this will give you room to plan the next day with fewer chances of repeating today’s mistakes.
I also mentioned that daily reflection helps you evaluate that day’s productivity. Of course to do this effectively it means you must have a daily To-Do list, which I recommend you prepare the night before. So as I evaluate my achievements of the day against this list, sometimes I get input for the next day’s To-Do list.
But is a To-Do list the only list that comes out of a reflection session? I found out that it is not. Questions like, “Did I live up to my core values and personal mission today? or Was I a person others respected today? or Did I perform at my best today?” such questions have a way of opening a mini Pandora’s box. If the answers to these questions are not in the affirmative, it means you need to do an introspection to find out what happened. Be real and very candid as you do this. In most cases, the findings you get from this meeting will lead to what I call a To-Not-Do List. This is a list of things you need to STOP doing in order to increase your productivity in every area of your life. That is why today my word for the day is STOP.
In order to create a to stop list, you must first have a vision in your mind of what you need to achieve. You need goals. Elbert Hubbard captured this very well in one of his most famous quotes that says, “The sculptor produces the beautiful statue by chipping away such parts of the marble block as are not needed – it is a process of elimination.” For the sculptor to eliminate those parts that are not needed, he first needs to know what he wants to create i.e. the goal.
Like the late Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said, "always begin with the end in mind". If you start your day without an end in mind, how will you know when you’ve reached the end? Even the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland knows this because it said, “If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.” This brings us to the first item on our To-Not Do list:
Stop going through life without goals. How do you stop this? By creating a vision board. It is from this vision board that you will derive daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly milestones that you will be reviewing on a daily basis. Why do you need to review them daily? Because like the old adage says, “out of sight, out of mind.”If you don’t see your goals every day, you will soon forget them. That’s why new year resolutions never work. But that’s a story for another day.
As you do your daily reflection, you might have this question on your reflection list: “Did I use my time wisely today?” As you answer it, you might realize that you did not. From my personal experience this happens when I entertain “uninvited guests”. These guests could be whatsapp messages, pings and beeps from different apps on my phone, phone calls etc. Anything that was not in the plan but it takes your time that to me is an uninvited guest. This brings me to the next item on our To-Not-Do list:
Stop entertaining uninvited guests at the expense of your daily plan. To avoid wasting time with these uninvited guests, I do something very simple: I activate the Do-Not disturb feature on my phone, or I switch it off completely until I finish what I had set myself to do for that particular time. By the way, this also includes physical guests and unplanned activities, which leads me to the next item on out To-Not-Do list:
Stop saying yes to everything that comes your way. And yes, NO! is a perfectly acceptable answer. It is a complete sentence that needs no further explanation. Many people say yes to things and people and activities while deep in their hearts they are screaming Noooooo! Unless you speak the NO in your heart, nobody will hear it. I know this is great advice but if you can’t take it from me, then at least take it from the 4thrichest man on the planet. As of April 2020 Warren Buffet’s net worth was US$ 70.5B. This is the guy who said, "The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything." This quote leads me to the next To-Not-Do item:
Stop succumbing to peer pressure. Just because you are the only one doing something different from amongst all your friends doesn’t mean you are wrong! Haven’t you heard that sometimes “majority means all the idiots are on one side”? Stop worrying about what others will think if you do or don’t do something. You’re here to live YOUR life. If that means an alcohol free life that allows you to be your best self, then embrace that wholeheartedly! If that means remaining a virgin until your wedding night (even if that will be at the age of 50), by all means stick to your stand. Don’t let your peers pressure you into doing stuff you’ll regret for the rest of your life. Take this advice from someone who has been there and suffered deep emotional wounds for not being able to stand against my peers. Which leads me to the next item on the list of To-Not-Do items:
Stop trying to be someone you are not. This will only happen when you stop comparing yourself with other people. I think since I started these series I’ve said this many times. Comparison breeds jealousy, which as we saw is the first step to becoming a witch – that’s from a Robert Mugabe quote. Listen, you were born a winner by default. If that weren’t the case, then out of 300M plus sperms the sperm that won that race to conceive you would not have won it. So why keep trying to be someone else? Who will be you if you are not willing to be you? Your creator knew exactly why He created you the way you are, so stop trying to be someone you are not. In any case, you don’t have a choice but to be yourself because everyone else is taken! Which leads me to another item on the TO-NOT-DO list:
Stop stopping yourself. How many times have you talked yourself out of doing something because you felt you were not worthy of pursuing it, or you thought you didn’t deserve it? How many times have you discouraged yourself from taking on opportunities that would have been great for you, just because you thought someone better could do them? There is an African proverb that says, “When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm.” The worst enemy you can ever have is You. You slowly and strategically “kill” yourself with self-doubt, the fear of the unknown, fear of trying new things, etc. That’s why like I said yesterday reflection is import; it introduces you to the hidden you.
Let me share with you a few things you need to do in order to stop stopping yourself:
1.Stop confessing negative things about you and your life.
2.Stop giving yourself labels e.g. I’m foolish; I’m a slow learner; I’m too old.
3.Stop blaming yourself for other people’s mistakes, or making excuses for them.
4.Stop hating yourself.
5.Stop spending money without budgeting for it.
6.Stop holding onto things that make you bitter e.g. grudges.
7.Stop entertaining toxic relationships and activities.
8.Stop overeating and oversleeping.
9.Stop overthinking yourself to depression.
10.Stop abusing your body or allowing your body to be abused.
11.Stop engaging in activities that lead to insomnia i.e. sleeplessness.
13.Stop putting yourself at the bottom of your priority list.
14.Stop belittling yourself and undermining your abilities.
15.Stop. Stop. Stop.
These are just a few Stops I’ve mentioned but if you take time to look inwards, I am sure you will find many others.
I need to warn you though. Human beings are creatures of habits. If you were used to doing something and you suddenly stop it, the only way to make sure you don’t go back to repeating what you stopped is by starting something new. For instance, if you were used to speaking negative things about yourself, you need to create a list of positive declarations to speak upon yourself. In short, for every item you stop, you need to start something new that will replace that bad item that was on your TO-NOT-DO list.
I hope this helps you come up with an effective TO-NOT-DO list, and as you work on the items on the list, you will start seeing and experiencing transformation you never did before.
To listen to the podcast on S for Stop click here.
Be ignited. Be inspired. Be influenced. When you stop stopping yourself, you will become the best version of yourself you can ever be.