As a long-time business executive, Steven P. Delarge has seen countless other executives trying to juggle too many things. Many CEOs and CFOs have hundreds of unread e-mails and a to-do list far longer than any one human being could ever complete, Steven P. Delarge reports. However, unless someone can magically grant these busy executives more hours in the day, says Steven P. Delarge, may feel they have no real options.
The answer for many people, Steven P. Delarge says, is creating to-do lists. There have been many books on effective time management, points out Steven P. Delarge, and nearly all suggest some variation of these to-do lists. While this is effective in the short-term, many people find their best intentions are short-lived and soon they’ve fallen back into the same rut, according to Steven P. Delarge. The key, says Steven P. Delarge, is to create “not-do” lists. These are items you simply won’t do each day. It’s a creative way to turn the to-do list concept on its ear, suggests Steven P. Delarge.
The key, Steven P. Delarge advises, is to think of those things that are colossal time-wasters, like checking and responding to e-mail for a full hour each morning when you first get into the office. Steven P. Delarge recommends making an initial list of three items—perhaps things you’ve identified as bad habits, like staying at the office each day until late rather than leaving on time to spend time at home with the family.
Steven P. Delarge has found that focusing on his “not do” list frees him up to do the things that would traditionally go on his to-do list–without all the pressure. According to Steven P. Delarge, this might include calling a client he’s needed to touch base with for a while, or giving an employee helpful encouragement and feedback. By completing these tasks, Delarge says that he experiences a sense of personal accomplishment and that this helps his business succeed.
We all have our mental “to-do” lists. Steven P. Delarge recommends removing the non-value added tasks from that list, freeing up more time to conduct more important day-to-day business affairs. According to Steven P. Delarge, this will give you more personal time to spend with your family, doing things you personally enjoy.