The ‘Stop Doing’ List: A New Way to Look at Resolutions

11 12 2009

I had it all planned out.

4 amazing part-time internships and 18 credit hours, all in one semester.  These jobs would give me the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best and brightest and gain the kind of experience that most students could only dream of.  I could do it – just 14 hours a day and 6 days a week of tightly scheduled classes, meetings, and study time.  I would make it work – just barely.

Well, a good friend invited me to read an article by author Jim Collins entitled Best New Year’s Resolution? A ‘Stop Doing’ List, in which he discusses the importance of worthy, sustainable priorities.  He suggests the following guideline in planning:

Suppose you woke up tomorrow and received two phone calls. The first phone call tells you that you have inherited $20 million, no strings attached. The second tells you that you have an incurable and terminal disease, and you have no more than 10 years to live. What would you do differently, and, in particular, what would you stop doing?

And so now here I am, having to make some bold decisions about where my priorities lie.  This has forced me to make some uncomfortable choices and turn down a few opportunities.  But at the same time, I believe this will allow me to really focus on the remaining priorities and make an even greater difference than I could have being spread so thin.

So for the new year, if you find your plate a little full, rather than piling more on, consider where your priorities lie.  Drop the extraneous and give what’s remaining your full, undivided attention.