We’ve often given advice not only to focus on what you will do to meet your goals, but also decide what NOT to do. This advice becomes concrete and easy to do using the methods described in Harvard Business Review’s article “Want to Be More Productive? Try Doing Less” by Kate Northrup.

Read the whole article for all the specifics. Here are the highlights:

Step 1: Divide a piece of paper in half length-wise.

Step 2: Decide on an area of your life or work where you’d like to have better results and less stress. Maybe it’s that big hairy goal you haven’t been able to get to yet.

Step 3: On the left-hand side, list the tasks or activities you do in that area of your work or life. (Your calendar may be a good input for this.)

Step 4: On the right-hand side, make a list of your biggest “wins” in that area. Don’t shy away from listing things that you’ve accomplished and avoid too much self-editing!

Step 5: Draw a line connecting each of your biggest wins to the activity or task that was most responsible for that result. These are the actions you took that paid off.

Step 6: Circle all the activities and tasks on the left side of your paper that have been responsible for your big wins. Look at what’s left. Whatever isn’t circled is something that you need to either stop doing completely, significantly minimize, or delegate if it absolutely must be done.

Basically this exercise gets you to the few, best actions you need to take to make progress. You can also use this exercise to evaluate how you’re using time in general. Note time uses on the left and the necessary results you need on the right. Draw a line between the actions that most effectively get you those results. What’s left is your “don’t” list for eliminating, delegating or at least minimizing.

Need to zero in to accomplish something vital or have a success story? Comment below or message us.


Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash