If you are like me, you probably have a “to-do” list of some kind or another.

It might be part of a sophisticated online planning system, notes written in a diary or notebook, or some scribbles on the back of an envelope.

However, I am now suggesting that you have a “don’t-do” list or a “stop-doing” list.

I once had an assistant who proudly showed me her to-do list one day. It had 54 activities on it!

In the time it took her to write this list, she could have completed 75 per cent of the activities.

If you have a huge to-do list, sit down and take a closer look at it.

Ask yourself if you really need to do everything on that list.

Perhaps you have a colleague or a member of your team, or even a boss whom you could delegate some of these tasks to.

Remember the saying: “Only do it if only you can do it.”

There may even be activities on your list that you don’t really have to do at all.

Here is another question to ask yourself: “Is what I’m doing now getting me to where I want to get to? Is it helping me to achieve my goals?”

If the answer is “No”, stop doing it.

Stick to the 80/20 rule

Remember the Pareto Principle, the old 80/20 rule. It means that 80 per cent of your results come from 20 per cent of your activities.

This means that the activities you do for 20 per cent of your time need to be increased if you want to improve your results.

It worked for Rowling

I once read some background material on J.K. Rowling, the highly successful author of the Harry Potter series of books.

When she was writing her first book, she lived in a small apartment in Edinburgh.

By her own admission, she didn’t spend too much time doing the domestic chores. She was much more concerned with getting her book finished and finding a publisher.

Now, I am not suggesting that you work in a dirty or untidy environment, as that can only lead to inefficiency and poor work.

However, I am suggesting that you keep very focused on your goal, targets, ambitions, or whatever it is you call them. And only do what you need to do to achieve them.

Be like a stamp — stick to your map till you get to your destination.