We are all very aware of action sheets – some see them as the bain of their lives – the source of angst and frustration.  There are many different versions and we have blogged about our version of the action sheet here.  In their simplest form action sheets are a list of things we need to do.

What about the other side of the coin – the things we need to stop doing?

Finding out what you don’t like, what you’d do differently, and what you will stop doing is as important as the reverse > Finding out what you like, what you’d emulate and what you must do.

We are advocates of the TO DON’T LIST.  This list is a reminder to ourselves to stop doing stuff that doesn’t serve us.  “Stuff” that could be delegated, time-wasters that come easy but are not making the best use of your time or things that are not good for your health and well being – just to name a few.

The list is a visual which must be displayed for your viewing pleasure – it is the reminder to stop these bad habits.

What are the things that you could eliminate so you can spend more time and energy on what really matters?

What is one thing that you must stop doing?  Write it down and decide to stop doing it immediately!

You may need to engage someone to keep you accountable to your TO DON’T LIST – to point out when you may have reverted to a past behaviour.

Sometimes when we stop doing something it is an opportunity to do something that you have always wanted to make time for.  What would that look like for you?

Have fun – let go – and be very intentional about how you fill the time you created.

Does your action sheet resemble a shopping list – and because you are too busy to make it to the shops it just gets longer and longer…

A “TO DO” list is not an action sheet – it is a wish list.

I have seen some action sheets with just 2 columns – the number and the action.

Others have 3 columns – the number, the action and the due by date

And it is the due by date that keeps changing…

One of my roles as a coach is to motivate people to get stuff done so I suggest the action sheet have at least 6 columns.

No need for the number – because the actions will get done – and who is counting anyway?

Column 1:

The first column is headed IN and this is for the month the action was first entered on the action sheet.  We have to be able to measure the time it takes to get things done.

Column 2:

The 2nd column is headed WHAT – this is what needs to be done.  Remember a project is not an action – I have seen actions like – “Cleanse database” – the size of this project is a deterrent to getting it done – we could find 2 hours but 40 hrs – are you crazy?

So we would chunk this down – the first action might be to cleanse A’s and B’s for example.  That way it is doable and the project will actually get started.

Column 3:

The 3rd Column is headed WHY – this is where we note why we are doing this and what value it will add to the organisation.  I include this because too often I have found that a few months down the track no one can remember why this action was important let alone what value it would have added once done.  WHY provides the impetus or urgency to act.  WHY ensures that the value add has in fact been considered.  So if you are going to have to invest 8 hours doing a particular action and you know it will potentially reduce costs by $20,000 – then you will make the time – won’t you.  It helps determine the degree of urgency, who should be doing it and by when.

Column 4:

This column is headed BLOCKS – and this is where you write down those things which might “do you in” – which might be the reason that you don’t follow through.  Considering what might block your progress allows you the opportunity to formulate a work around or a strategy to address this challenge.  It is a proactive tactic.  If and when this trial turns up, you will be prepared and momentum will not be lost.

Column 5:

The 5th Column is headed WHO – this is the person who will be responsible for making sure that the action is done – they may not do it themselves but will ensure that it is done by the due date.

Column 6:

The 6th Column is headed WHEN – when will the action be completed.

So the 6 columns are – IN, WHAT, WHY, BLOCK, WHO & WHEN

Getting stuff done should be a KPI – to measure how effective people are at prioritising and managing their time and that of others.

Very simple but very effective… try it … it works.


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