As 2023 takes off, Xavier Lederer asks you to consider what you should stop doing this year.
Each time the New Year rolls around and I sit down to do my annual resolutions, I reflect back to a lesson taught me by a remarkable teacher,” shares best-selling author and researcher Jim Collins.
Are you busy or are you disciplined?
He continues: “One day, she pointed to my ferocious work pace and said, “I notice, Jim, that you are a rather undisciplined person.”
I was stunned and confused. After all, I was the type of person who carefully laid out my BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals), top three objectives and priority activities at the start of each New Year. I prided myself on the ability to work relentlessly toward those objectives, applying the energy I’d inherited from my prairie-stock grandmother.
“Your genetic energy level enables your lack of discipline,” my teacher continued. “Instead of leading a disciplined life, you lead a busy life.”
What should you stop doing?
[She] then gave me what I came to call the 20-10 assignment. It goes like this: Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?
That assignment became a turning point in my life, and the “stop doing” list became an enduring corner stone of my annual New Year resolutions — a mechanism for disciplined thought about how to allocate the most precious of all resources: time.
[This] challenge forced me to see that I’d been plenty energetic, but on the wrong things. Indeed, I was on entirely the wrong path. After graduate school, I’d taken a job at Hewlett- Packard. I loved the company, but hated the job. Her assignment helped me to see I was cut out to be a professor, a researcher, a teacher— not a businessman — and I needed to make a right-angle turn.
I had to stop doing my career, so that I could find my real work. I quit HP, migrated to the Stanford Business School faculty and eventually became— with some remarkable good luck along the way — a self-employed professor, happily toiling away on my research and writing.” You can read Jim Collins’ full article here.
Reallocate your business’ scarcest resource: your time.
These changes don’t need to be as dramatic: it is also about the day-to-day little things that you can stop doing. Every time you stop doing something of little value, you create time to invest your talent into something of higher value – which helps grow your business faster and with less pain.
Remember: your company’s scarcest resource is your time. Therefore delegation adds value even if the other person needs more time than you to perform a task – because it creates time for you, that can be invested in higher-value activities.
Practically speaking: what can you start doing today?
Make a list of the top 10-15 tasks that you do regularly and take 5 minutes to put them in 3 categories:
What you need to do yourself.
What needs to be done, but not necessarily by yourself.
What doesn’t add much value and can be dropped altogether.
2. Identify at least one task that you should stop doing and/or delegate. Assess how much time you will gain every week by delegating more and/or dropping some tasks. Do you gain one hour? Two hours?
3. Ask yourself: Where can I invest this extra time in order to accelerate my business growth?”
Key points include:
Reallocate your business’ scarcest resource
Discipline vs busy
Read the full article, WHAT IS ON YOUR STOP DOING LIST THIS YEAR?, on AmbroseGrowth.com.