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Making Your Not To Do List

What's on your NOT TO DO LIST? The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now. On this episode, I discuss this topic that I was introduced to by Tim Ferriss.

On the list are:

1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers

2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night

3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time

4. Do not let people ramble

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

6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers

7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize

8. Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7 (Smartphone/iPhone)

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

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Notes & Links From The Episode

The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now | Originally Written by Tim Ferriss

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 Google Voice where you can listen in on the voice and get email or text transcriptions.

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…

  • Add social media, text messaging and turning on your phone.

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.”

  • Consider not having the meeting at all and do it via email. Meeting Vacation.

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.

  • Don't ramble yourself. Have clearly thought out your objective before calling/meeting/emailing.

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.

  • This includes Social, DM’s, Messenger, Slack, etc.
  • We turn to our phones when we're bored or waiting. Let's practice not doing that, just waiting or being bored and letting our minds rest and wonder and daydream.

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.

  • Don't be afraid to fire your customers, you'll free up time and your stress level will go down to focus on and better serve those that aren't a pain in the ass.

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.

  • Effective vs Efficient. Being effective is about doing the right things, while being efficient is about doing things right.
  • Put your phone in airplane mode in eliminate distractions and interruptions.
  • List down your 6 most important tasks for the next day before you leave the office or go to bed.

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.

**My additions and thoughts are the bullets in italics. The original Post Is Here

Episode Transcriptions

Tyson: 00:13 welcome to the social chameleon show where it's our goal to help you learn, grow, and transform, into the person you want to become today, the not to do list. I, I came across this some years ago from a Tim ferriss called the not to do list, nine habits to stop right now. I have implemented them and it has just made a tremendous difference in my life and I thought for the end of the year, coming into the new year and pay on when you're listening to this, this is a great thing to start doing. Uh, we could free up a lot of time by eliminating a lot of nonsense things that we do. So let's get into this here. So the first one here is do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers. Uh, feel free to surprise others, but don't be surprised if it just resolves in unwanted interruptions and poor negotiating position.

Tyson: 01:05 Let it go to voicemail. Consider using a service like a. He talks about some older services like google voice is what I like to use, where you can listen in on, on the, on the voicemail being left. You can also get a email or text transcription after the voicemails left and you can go through and easily read that real quick and see if there's something you need to respond to immediately. Or you can schedule that for a later time. I really, I really do enjoy not answering my phone and letting it go. Um, I realized, you know, some people, some of you out there that, you know, answering the phone, answering unrecognized phone numbers is something you absolutely have to do, but your cell phone, your personal phone, is that something you don't have to do. So, you know, take, take the window, kind of green assault, understand which phone is, is not being answered.

Tyson: 01:55 Your personal line isn't the same as being a receptionist or, or having to answer your, your work liner or business line, no matter, ah, you know, who, who's calling you or not if you don't recognize it at all, but also understand, you know, I really liked this part here is when you get that surprise call, you're not expecting from somebody, you're in a poor negotiating position. Uh, maybe if you feel like that when you pick up the phone and it's like, Oh crap, I'm not ready for this. Um, you get them off the phone and set up a time to call them back, let them know, hey, you know, I'd love to talk about it right now. I'm in the middle of X. uh, can we, can I call you back in 30 minutes, 45 minutes out Tuesday at 3:00 PM and then you're going to be in a better position and you're gonna be more prepared for this phone call that you're getting and you're not going to have somebody else, you know, I'm bombarding your time and your schedule.

Tyson: 02:45 Number two thing, this is one of the most critical things is June, not email first thing in the morning or last thing at night. A lot of people are just tethered to your email. Uh, the, the, the former scrambles priorities and plans for the day and the ladder just gives you insomnia. Email can wait until 10:00 AM after you've completed at least one of your critical to do items. And also like to add to this social media text messaging, um, you know, I like to, I go to sleep and I turn off my phone and I do not turn my phone back on until I am, I'm ready to turn it on a I'm, I'm done with my, you know, my morning things, my meditations and all these different things. Then I'll turn on my phone because it's usually try that phone on. You're going to be bombarded with other people's requests for your time, whether it's text messages, emails, DM, slack message, whatever you have going on.

Tyson: 03:37 So take that opportunity, especially when you first wake up in the morning to set yourself up to win the day. Do the things you need to do in the morning, the first 30, 60, 90 minutes, whatever it is. If your day it's uninterrupted time, people aren't bombarding you, lot of times it's just nonsensical things anyway that you're being bombarded with. A little thing, a little notification, little thing here. What was going on? Uh, how much self worth that I gained from social media yesterday. You know, all these little things that we can avoid until a later time where you can either schedule it like, you know, I'm going to do these things and at nine or 10 or 11 or noon or whatever, I'm going to go in and I'm going to go and I'm going to check these things on the phone, not or whatever it is, and check on these things onto number three.

Tyson: 04:22 Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end the time. So it was really, really good. I never thought about this before until I came across this thing. A lot of times we all know we're going to meetings and it's like, why am I here? What are we doing? Sometimes I know in certain situations it's unavoidable. You get dragged into meetings or whatever and you have no say in it, but try and control this as much as possible. It goes on to say, here is 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. Requests them in advance so you can be best prepared and make good use of your time. All your other, like I said, I know a lot of times in places, you know, an army and stuff, you've got to be in these classes, you've got to be in these meetings or whatever they are.

Tyson: 05:10 We have no choice. You have no control over anything, um, but when you do have control, when you can have control a set these things up, kind of clearly defined goals and if you're pitching something, even that, it shouldn't last 30 minutes. Um, if you're interested in pitching and also as a great, great book and course I pitch anything, it's amazing. You can really narrow down your pitches and these different things so that these things don't last for an hour. You know? Uh, I'd also like to add something I've added to this myself over the years is a, consider not having meetings at all and do them via email. A lot of times these things can be hammered out on a, on a few emails. And with the beauty of that being in an email is you control when you read the email and you control when you reply to the email.

Tyson: 05:57 Um, even also consider taking a meeting vacation and not taking meetings at all. A lot of times I get requests for meetings and calls and things and it's like, no, I'm sorry I'm not available. We can handle it here. And nine out of 10 times that, that conversation stops because what these people want to do. So I want to get you on the phone and they want to pitch you something. They want to get you emotionally involved in, in this thing or this dealer in this project or the service or whatever it is. Um, so try to avoid those things that, you know, like I said, I messed all the time. I was like, Hey, we, uh, I don't, I'm not taking meetings right now. Uh, we can, we can talk about it here out of 10 times. That request goes right away. Guess what?

Tyson: 06:39 I just freed up $50. Well, I'm sure a lot of us get those. Hey, can I have a quick five minutes to chat about what you do? I kind of get a quick 15 minutes to chat about what you're doing and maybe we can collaborate. It's just, uh, to me a sleazy way of trying to capture some of these time and don't, don't fall victim to these things. Ask them, Hey, what are you, what are you looking for? What can we handle this here? Can we hash this out here before you get dragged into these calls and you get emotionally involved in something maybe you didn't even really want, but you got that shiny, Shiny Object Syndrome or you, you know, you've got an like, I mean, I mean, I could use this and this sounds great. I think I could maybe make use out of it. Uh, don't, don't fall for those things. Number four, do not let people ramble like me. I think enjoy rambling. Sometimes it just happens.

Tyson: 07:28 Forget how's it going when, when someone calls you stick with what's up or I'm in the middle of getting something out, but what's going on? This is a big part of when you're getting things done and getting people's at a point. Also on the same token I'm on, I like to add to this is don't ramble yourself. Have a clearly thought out objective before you call somebody, before you schedule a meeting, before you emailed them, before you, whatever. We're all, we're all busy and the clearer we can communicate, the better we can get through these things. The more things you can get done in a day and you can also eliminate a lot of the back and forth and things are unclear. I don't understand. Or um, you know, can I have more permission is because these things are already clearly set out before you get on that call before you get into that meeting, before you send an email out or whatever it is, it's really going to make things flow a lot smoothly and a lot less back and forth.

Tyson: 08:22 On number five is do not check email. Constantly, batch and set aside times where you only check these things. Uh, he goes on to say, get off the cocaine pellet dispenser and focus on execution on your top two dues instead of responding to manufactured emergencies, set up a strategic autoresponder and check email twice or three times a day. I'd also like to add to this is includes social media, [inaudible], messenger, slack, all these things that people request for your time and your, your, you're in the middle of something. You grab your phone and you're like, oh, what's message? Oh, what's this thing? Oh, what's going on? No, even those to set aside a time to back out your, your, your, your replies for, for Dns, for comments or whatever it is, or your, your, your messages and all these things. And just like you do set setting on time to batch all your emails when you check them.

Tyson: 09:14 And he replied to them. I'm also, like, I said, you know, we, we, uh, we tend to reach for our phones when we're bored and we're waiting in line our practice. Not doing that practice. Just waiting, be present this moment. Look around, see what's going on in the world or you know, practice being bored, letting your mind wander, letting your mind rest. Daydreams are all skills that it's, it seems crazy. I don't want to be more. We're going to be bored. Being bored is his skill is something you can use to your advantage. Give yourself the opportunity to let your mind wander your mindset, to think about this in, Oh, you're going to find yourself, um, solutions are going to find gonna. Come up with ideas and things. We're not constantly bombarding yourself with all these, all these things, all the stimulus. Batch these things out, batch out your social replies to emails, all that stuff, and don't reach for your phone when you're bored.

Tyson: 10:15 Number six, do not overcommunicate with low profit, high maintenance customers. I realize this doesn't apply to all of you, but you can definitely think about it. A lot of the situations in your life where this things up do apply. Low profit, high maintenance, fill in the blank. So he goes on to say, here, there is no sherpath to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. You try to please everyone. You please nobody, especially yourself, a back to the thing, do an 80 slash 20 analysis of your customer base in two ways, which 20 percent are producing 80 percent or more of your profit and which 20 percent are consuming 80 percent or more of your time. Then put the loudest and least productive on autopilot by setting it changing company policies. Send them an email with new rules as bullet points number of, uh, a permissible phone calls, email response time, been a memorials, etc.

Tyson: 11:16 A offer to point them to another provider. If they cAn't afford, they can't conform to the new policies. I'd like to also add to this. Don't be afraid to fire your customers. I know it sounds crazy and a lot of people are like, I've only got six people. If I fire the three that drive me up, the walls then only got three. Yes. What you free up yourself and you feel per time. You lower your stress level and you can focus on and better serve those that are a pain in your ass that aren't wasting your time. You know this guy gives you a thousand dollars. it cost you $1,500 in extra things and all this stuff you're losing out anyway. You're better served focusIng on the customers that are. You're producing your 80 percent that are good customers that you can get along with. You can go back to them and you can.

Tyson: 12:02 You can try and get more work and more projects onto them or upsell them on new upselling products or show them new products. You can go out and find more customers like them so that you know you fire three and you gained for it and and, and they're all customers that are ideal for you, that are a pain in your asked them. They're not taking up all your time. This is a really great thing to do. Don't be afraid to fire your customers. Number seven, do not work more to fix overwrought overwhelm or a ties. You're working 16 hours a day. You're probably should reevaluate that. Okay? It goes on to say here, if you don't prioritize everything seems urgent and important. If you define the single most important tasks for each day, almost nothing seems urgent or important. Oftentimes it's a matter of letting little bad things happen.

Tyson: 12:55 Return a phone call late, and apologize. Pay a small 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 is defining the few things that really fundamentally change your business in life. I like to add to this, um, the difference between being effective and efficient, being efficient is about doing the right things while being effective is about doing things right. Okay. Understand the difference between the two. We all can be efficient. We can nail out a thousand tasks that get nowhere versus being effective by knowing which few tasks need to be done that a lot of times can eliminate a lot of the smaller, a menial things that you're doing. I'm putting your phone on airplane mode when you're working on one of these projects. We were working on things. So this zero distractions.

Tyson: 13:51 Um, also I think I really liked to do and like to tell people on his list down your six most important tasks, those things that need to get you need to get done to get you to your goal or to complete the project or whatever it is for the next day before you leave the office or before you go to bed. When you get those six things done and the first thing is really wake up in the morning or you get the office, whatever. You already have your tasks done. Not sitting there thinking, oh, what did I need to do today? What about this? Or, oh well this things come to my desk, or janet just emailed me. Or, or, or tommy's in a slack, asking the questions. You already know what you're going to need to do and you can hit these things out. Knocking out that what that top one thing before you respond to emails and does different things and can really set your day up for a huge, huge.

Tyson: 14:34 When you're really gonna, see a huge increase in your productivity, in the tasks that are getting done in the achievement of your goals and your projects are going to go and move along a lot faster and a lot smoother. Number eight, a, do not carry a mobile phone all the time. Take at least one day off of digital of your digital leashed per week. Turn them off or better still leaD them in the garage or in the car. This is from tim. Here. I do this. At least I do this at least saturday and I recommend need the phone at home if you go out for dinner. So what if you return a phone call an hour or the next morning as one of my readers, put it to a muff coworker who worked 24 slash seven and expect the same. I'm not the president of the United States.

Tyson: 15:21 No one should need me at 8:00 PM at night. Okay? You didn't get ahold of me. What bad happened? The answer, nothing is a great example. Um, I know we're all going to come up with excuses and reasons why we must have our phone at all times, but we must be replying to these things. Maybe in very rare cases you do need to be. I really take a step back and evaluate why you feel like you need to reply to these things immediately in real time. Uh, like I said, it's easy to turn off your phone and put it on airplane mode and put it in another room. A lot of times for me, it just turning my phone over at and I don't, I don't think about it. There's some studies from that came out of, I don't know who, a few years ago, whatever it was, were having your phone near you creates low level anxiety.

Tyson: 16:08 Do I have a message to somebody who texts me? But it's all the things you don't need to be good. We already have enough things going on this world. You don't need your cell phone creatIng a low levels of anxiety for yourself. Turn off all these notifications and all these things and beings and pings and all these things that happen for every little silly thing that comes through. I liked, I have priorities that, uh, my phone, um, that will, that will come through. I have a few contacts or whatever it is that they, they can get through if it's, if it's an emergency. But other than that, I have all my notifications off. Nothing pops up on my phone. I don't get any things in beings unless it's one of those criteria that I have already set up. I didn't like you guys have tried out as well.

Tyson: 16:51 And, uh, last year, number nine, do not expect work to fill a void that non work relationships and activities should work, is not all of life. Your coworkers shouldn't be your only friends, scheduled life and defended as you would an important business meeting. Never tell yourself, I'll just get it done this weekend. Review a parkinson's law in the four hour work week and reinforce and force yourself to cram within tight our so your per hour productivity doesn't fall through the floor. Focus. Get the critical few things done and get out. Emailing all weekend long is no way to spend a 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 distractions. If you have trouble deciding what to do, just focus on not doing different means. Same end and that's the end of the article there for that mr.

Tyson: 17:52 Be like, like, like you said, we only have so much time on this planet. You're not going to be on your deathbed saying, oh, I wish I worked more. You know, you're, you're gonna, you're gonna. Look back and say, put it this time though, my kids are older, or whatever it is. Um, my life has gone. I haven't done all these things for. I got a lot of the other things done that really didn't really matter. It could have waited for the next day, whatever it is or been pushed off to somebody else. Don't be afraid to delegate as well. People, a lot of people, they, they think they've got to do it. All this stuff. If that old adage of if it's going to be done right, I got to get myself wrong. You've got to empower other people to help. You got to train them.

Tyson: 18:33 You've got to set people up to succeed so you can focus on other things. Okay? And a giveaway. We don't, we're not doing that as a time of this recording. We are doing the holiday helper. Uh, it's, it's a few days here before christmas. Just get out there and you know, be kind to your neighbors. Uh, be sympathetic to other people. You have no idea what's going on in these people's lives. You know, you see somebody needs a helping hand. Help them out. Especially this time of year when it's front of mind. Okay? See a homeless person or whatever, don't, don't worry about or, or, or, or put onto them what you think they will do with a dollar or two or five or 10. You give them. Just give it to them and let it go. Let it be whatever they do to you, that's up to them, not up to you.

Tyson: 19:24 It's not for you to judge. It's about giving. It's about giving without expectation and that's what I want you guys to do this holiday season, nbi, take this time of year to get into the habit of giving without expectation of reciprocation. Okay. And I will link to this article so you folks can read it and reference the things that tim has in his article you're not aware of too. Tim ferriss is a, it's an amazing podcast. Uh, I think somewhere over $500,000,000 is constantly in a top five, if not number one in most categories. He's in. He's got some amazing books for our work week for our chef, for our body, uh, tools of titans, tribe of mentors, great amazing books. And they're big. They're there. They're no slouch either. So there's a lot of good reading material resources. Tim really, really does dive, dive, dive deep in.

Tyson: 20:20 He goes narrow and in the, you know, he doesn't stay wide and shallow. He said he's a narrow and deep penndot guy and he really gets done to things. a lot of great things learned from him. If you're not aware of who is checking him out@tim.blog and check out the tim ferriss show in your favorite podcast app. If you haven't already this week's challenge, I challenge you to delete all of your social media apps from phone or at least one week. You will not die guaranteed. Okay? If you need it for work, and I know some of us do use the web versions on a scheduled time. Okay? I know instagram it. Something's hard. There are services out there like later.com and some other things are all in those lines. Hoot suite and stuff where I think buffer as well where you can go hook up your instagram account and auto publish to instagram for for those of you that have business purposes and stuff and you can see off of the app from your phone is the challenge.

Tyson: 21:31 People delete all your social media apps for at least one week re gain your life and the final thoughts. What other things should be on your to do list? What are the things, your job and your life that you can add to this list that you shouldn't be doing? Think about it for a second. Take this time. We all got 17 mile long to do list. Find the things that you shouldn't be doing that are a waste of your time, that are causing you the 80 percent of the grief and not and only gave me 20 percent of the results. Okay? Find those, put them into your rotation. You'll be surprised how many more things you can get done. Hm, and as always, if this was a help to you, the best way to support the podcast is to share it, share, release to other people.

Tyson: 22:28 You can follow us in between shows all week long and the social chameleon.show on facebook, instagram, and twitter. Also, you can subscribe on youtube and your favorite podcast app like apple podcast, google podcast, spotify, stitcher, and all those great other platforms. You listen to podcast version, like the navy review. That'd be amazing. It does help us reach more amazing people like you for this and other past episodes and links to everything we've talked about. You can visit the social chameleon dot show. Until next time, you guys have a happy new year, a very blessed and prosperous new year. Next year for 2019. I want you guys to really commit, to learning, to growing, and transforming into the person you want.

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