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Do You Need to Make a To-Don’t List?

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Last week I wrote about how to say no and have more time for your passions. One of the things I mentioned that could help you manage your time better was creating what I call a TO-DON’T list.

Perhaps you’re one of those people who always make to-do lists and relish the feeling of checking off each item.

But to be successful and less stressed in our day-to-day lives, sometimes we need a TO-DON’T list.

I use a paper calendar called a Passion Planner which already comes with a section blocked off for each month where you can add “not-to-do” items in addition to your to-do items.

What Is a TO-DON’T List?

A TO-DON’T list has on it those things we shouldn’t waste our time and energy doing.

It’s probably the harder of the two types of lists to follow since most items are ones we have to remember time and time again not to do. We can’t just not do it once and check it off. We have to refer back to it, remember it, and develop it as a habit.

This can also take a lot of energy.

But, if you spend your energy working on your TO-DON’T list, you’ll save more energy in the long-run.

Below is an example of a TO-DON’T list. It’s my own personal TO-DON’T list for 2020.

Feel free to personalize it for yourself so you can de-stress and focus your energies on your personal and professional goals.

My TO-DON’T List:

  1. Spend time on meaningless things that distract me from my goals, like scrolling through my phone.
  2. Forget to maintain personal and professional relationships.
  3. Choose work projects which don’t support my company’s mission.
  4. Censor myself too much on my blog. I want to be more transparent so others can learn from my experiences instead of worrying they will think I’m talking too much about myself.
  5. Do anything that doesn’t support or line up with my personal mission statement.

Do you have a personal mission statement? If not, add this to your to-do list! It can serve as the basis for helping you make difficult choices when faced with different opportunities.

You can learn how to come up with your own personal mission statement in my book Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

Your TO-DON’T List

What do you need to add to your own TO-DON’T list?

Perhaps you don’t need to continue feeling stuck in your current job.

Maybe you don’t need to keep putting off pursuing your passions or letting lack of confidence stand in your way.

Or, you don’t need to put off getting help in these areas any longer.

If this is the case for you, add to your to-do list, “Fill out the paNASH intake form.” It’s a simple item you can check off your list to get you started on a brighter future!

Related post:

How to Say No and Have More Time For Your Passions

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Sunday Inspiration: The Comparison Trap

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“Don’t compare yourself.” Gal 6:4 CEV

Nothing will destroy your peace of mind faster than comparing. It shows a lack of understanding and makes you “behave unwisely” (2Co 10:12 AMPC).

Cain measured himself against his brother Abel, and it ended in murder. When the disciples compared notes to see who among them would suffer and who would be spared, Jesus told them, “That is not your business” (Jn 21:23 NCV).

Observe: (1) Comparisons can make you feel superior, which leads to pride. Remember the Pharisee who made a great show of thanking God because he was better than everybody else? (See Lk 18:11). Pride was Satan’s downfall; that’s why he loves it when you struggle and fall into the same trap.

(2) Comparisons can make you feel inferior, which leads to low self-esteem and keeps you focused on yourself. You overlook the truth that “God doesn’t play favorites” (Ac 10:34 GWT) and start believing He’s withholding things that are rightfully yours. Society creates a sense of entitlement; then Satan reminds you of all the people who’ve already attained what you want, which propels you further down the road to discontentment. Anne Peterson says: “Satan’s lies have a little truth mixed in, which makes them harder to recognize. We need to refute them by saturating ourselves with the truth…it’s only by learning the Scriptures that we can sort them out.”

(3) We attempt to bring God down to our level by comparing how He’s working now with how He worked in the past. Stop trying to figure God out, and trust Him! “The way [God] work[s] surpasses the way you work, and the way [He] think[s] is beyond the way you think” (Isa 55:9 MSG).

Instead of comparing, start using and appreciating what God has blessed you with.

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/the-comparison-trap-1

How to Say No and Have More Time For Your Passions

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In last week’s post entitled “The Best New Year’s Resolutions to Boost Your Career,” I gave you seven resolutions to try this new year. One of those resolutions was to do less so you can have more time to focus on your personal and professional goals.

This may sound impossible, especially given your current work schedule and all the other resolutions you’ve made for yourself this year.

But there are several things you can do less of  to carve out more time for your goals and passions.

Say yes less and learn how to say no more

It can be hard to say no, especially for people-pleasers. Anytime you’re faced with a task, activity, or event, ask yourself the following questions before immediately responding with “yes.”

  • Will I enjoy it?
  • Does it earn income?
  • Will it open up more quality time with my family?
  • Is it something leading me one step closer toward a goal of mine, like starting my own business?
  • Does it support my personal mission statement?

If you can’t answer yes to at least three of the above questions, say no or delay giving a commitment if you need to think about it some more. Perhaps you can say yes, but need to set some clear parameters or boundaries. For instance, you may agree to help with the task but for only a certain amount of time.

Most importantly, make sure you measure the opportunity against your personal mission statement to see if it supports it or distracts from it. If you don’t have a personal mission statement, check out my post “How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple” to help you create one.

If you realize it’s best to say no to the request, do so politely. Simply say, “I appreciate you thinking of me, but unfortunately it’s not something I can commit to at this time.” You don’t have to give any further explanation.

If the person doesn’t respect your response and keeps pushing the issue, keep repeating the above statement without changing it or adding anything to it. He or she will eventually accept your response or move on.

Outsource what you can

If the task or activity is an obligation, determine if it can be delegated our outsourced. While you may not like the idea of paying to outsource the task, the time saved from hiring someone can open up more time for you to do work you find more enjoyable and more profitable.

For instance, housework is a necessary evil and it has to get done. Some weeks I have more clients and more billable hours than I have time to spend doing my housework. But if I can make more money in an hour or two doing a job I love than I’d spend on a visit from a housekeeper, it makes more financial sense to pay the housekeeper so I can have the time to make more money and grow my business. Plus, not having to spend the extra time cleaning frees me up to spend time with friends or family.

When considering what can be delegated or outsourced, choose to delegate or outsource the tasks you enjoy least or make you the least money yet require the most time.

Work within your skill set

Make sure you’re spending your time working within your skill set. Don’t expend time or energy trying to get better at the things you’re not good at. Instead, let those be the things you delegate or outsource.

When I do presentations on the topic of personal branding, I often ask the audience why it’s important to know your weaknesses. The usually say it’s so you can know what skills you need to learn or improve. But this is not the correct answer. Instead, it’s so you can know what to say no to.

Do the things you do best and forget the rest. Stop trying to fit a square peg into a round hole or you’ll just get frustrated and waste your time. You were created with certain gifts. You’re a good steward of those gifts when you’re using them instead of trying to take on someone else’s gifts.

Be selective in who you work with

You don’t always get to choose your boss or co-workers, but on the occasions you do, only work with those who are receptive to what you’re doing.

This is especially important if you’re starting your own business. If a potential client or partner doesn’t get your vision or mission, don’t waste your time trying to sell them on it. Save this time and energy for those who do get it.

This is why I’m selective in who I take on as clients. The ones who see the importance of career coaching and understand their return on investment make my work so much more enjoyable and less stressful.

If you do have to work with someone difficult, keep any necessary interactions with the person as short and limited as possible. During those interactions stick to facts. Don’t express your emotions to someone who can’t be trusted with them. Also, establish boundaries and repeat them if necessary. And above all else, remain professional.

Downsize

If you’re spending more time and money having to maintain your material possessions, it’s probably time to downsize.

Get rid of the stuff that costs you more to maintain than it provides you convenience. Better yet, sell those items and use the money as seed money to start your own business or side hustle.

I promise, you won’t miss those things tying you down.

Say no to time-suckage activities

While you’re at it, also eliminate any unproductive activities sucking up all your time. This includes scrolling through social media, binge watching Netflix, talking on the phone with people who only want to gossip instead of talking about more meaningful things.

At the very least, reduce the amount of time you do these things by 30%.

With all the free time you gain back, use it to learn a new skill, read a book, or write a business plan for your own company you hope to start.

Screen your calls

I have a personal rule. If I don’t recognize the number calling me, I don’t answer it.

I’m surprised how many people don’t do this. Especially given the number of robo-calls people get these days. If it’s important, the person calling will leave a message.

Manage your time better

Sometimes finding more time for your passions simply requires you to revisit some tried and true time management practices. This includes setting deadlines for the obligations you can’t delegate or outsource. Put those things on your calendar.

Speaking of calendars, once you’ve incorporated some of the above suggestions in your life, look to see how much time has been freed up on your calendar. Write in the productive things you now want to use this time for in pursuing your passions.

In addition, if you like to make a to-do list for everything, consider writing a to-don’t list too. This can also help you manage your time better.

Get over your FOMO and say no

Some of the above suggestions may make you feel like you’re missing out on some things. But consider what you’re really missing out on if you say no. It will be the things that have no real pay-off in your life.

Sometimes the joy of missing out (JOMO) can free you up for the things you should say yes to and should never miss out on.

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The Best New Year’s Resolutions To Boost Your Career

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The best new year’s resolutions to boost your career aren’t just resolutions. They’re also commitments. If you commit to incorporating even just one of the following resolutions into your career for this new year and new decade, I guarantee you’ll see a return on your investment of time and energy.

Resolutions guaranteed to boost your career

1. Deepen your knowledge and become an expert

Take the favorite part of your job or know-how and deepen your current knowledge of it so you can establish yourself as an expert in this area. Doing so can open doors for you down the road.

For instance, it can lead to a promotion, or it could make you a sought-after consultant in your industry. This could allow you to become independent and set your own hours and salary.

Start by reading as many books on your subject as possible. Once you deepen your knowledge on your chosen subject, you can then start to share this knowledge along with your experience by writing articles and speaking on panels or podcasts about it.

This is a way to serve as a resource for others in your field. It also gives you credibility which can begin your journey toward career advancement and career independence.

2. Use creativity when solving problems

Does your current job allow you enough freedom to be able to solve problems in different ways? If so, don’t be afraid to try new ways of solving old problems and see what happens.

If you’re able to invent a better way from what’s always been done in the past and you’re able to share your best practices, you’re for sure on your way to becoming an expert in your field.

3. Learn a new skill

While you’re spending time becoming an expert in your field, don’t forget to also take time to learn a new skill.

For instance, if you think you eventually want to become an independent consultant in your area of expertise, take some time to learn some digital marketing skills to help you promote your service to your potential client base.

Or, learn a skill you may need in a higher-level position if you were to get promoted.

4. Adapt

In addition to learning a new skill to advance your career, don’t forget to also learn the things you need to keep up with your industry. Things change rapidly in today’s world of work. It’s important to adapt to industry trends and changes to remain relevant.

5. Always be networking

You knew I was going to say this, right? Always, always, always build and maintain your network. Networking is important throughout your career, especially if you decide to leave your job to work for yourself.

Reach out and reconnect with old contacts and create new ones. Set a goal for yourself in this new year for a specific number of people you plan to reconnect with. Then set a goal for how many new people you want to add to your network this year.

You may even want to set a goal for how many networking events you plan to attend each month or how many one-on-one conversations you plan to schedule.

6. Resolve to do less

While all of the above suggestions may sound like more things to add to your already busy to-do list, you may have to let go of some things to make room for your new commitments and resolutions. But it’s important to know which ones to let go of.

Learn to let go of and say no to anything that doesn’t support your personal mission statement (see my post entitled “How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple“). Also, let go of and say no to anything that isn’t a building block for your personal and professional goals.

7. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, update your resume every six months, even when you’re not looking for a job. You never know when you’ll be invited to serve on a panel or speak at an event (especially when you start fulfilling the above commitments and resolutions). When this happens, the coordinator of the event will likely ask you for a copy of your most recent résumé.

You’ll want to include the new skills you’re developing, the results of your new creative problem solving, and the speaking engagements you’re giving and articles you’re publishing on your area of expertise.

You’ll also want to update your LinkedIn profile and add to it your new contacts from your networking efforts.

Resolutions work if you’re committed

Making resolutions and keeping resolutions are two different things. It’s easy to make resolutions. It’s not easy to keep them. Therefore they will require commitment on your part.

To help you stay committed to your goals and resolutions, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter and receive a free download of the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. This free resource is designed to get you out of your rut and get you moving toward success.

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Sunday Inspiration: This Year Get Out of Your Rut!

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“The Lord spake unto me, saying, ‘Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward.’” Dt 2:2-3

A biologist experimented with what he called “processional caterpillars.” He lined up caterpillars on the rim of a pot that held a plant so that the lead caterpillar was head-to-tail with the last caterpillar, with no break in the parade.

The tiny creatures walked around the rim of the pot for a full week before they died of exhaustion and starvation. Not once did any of them break out of line and venture over to the plant to eat. Food was only inches away, but their follow-the-crowd instinct was stronger than the drive to eat and survive.

The same thing happened to an entire generation of Israelites. They walked in circles in the wilderness for forty years, even though they were only eleven miles from the Promised Land.

If you’re in a rut today, ask yourself these three questions:

(1) Is this rut of my own making?

We choose a rut because it’s comfortable and requires no risk. And getting out of it requires courage and a willingness to make tough choices you follow through on.

(2) Who am I following?

We adopt certain patterns because someone has taught them to us directly, or by example. Instead of mindlessly following the crowd, seek God’s will for your life and commit yourself to doing it.

(3) Where am I going?

The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Pr 29:18). If you want to get out of the rut you’re in today, ask God to give you a vision for your life—He will! And when He does, pour yourself into it.

Source: https://jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/this-year-get-out-of-your-rut