Today I want to talk to you about the contrarian approach. Doing things differently, or at least looking at things differently, than everyone else.
If you look at things the same way, and if you do things the same way as everyone else, you get the same results.
In the insurance industry, we have the 90/10 rule.
- 90% of the people out there find reasons why things won’t work, or they keep doing the same things, expecting different results, and then blame external factors.
- 10% get it done, and they do it often by looking at things through a different lens.
I talk about the power of the essential list. That’s naming the one, two, or three things that you have to get done, critical activities, essential activities that must get done for you to consider it a winning day. [Click to download the Win Every Day Playbook.]
My to-do list is a never-ending, ongoing list of things. If I get them done, great, but I push them to tomorrow if I don’t. They are non-essential.
I want to talk to you about the most crucial list I have: my Not-To-Do List.
As your career progresses, your levels of production go up. As your time becomes more spread out and more valuable, you will find more significant levels of success and happiness based on the things you don’t do.
The things that you say “no” to. That’s when we get intentional with our time. When we hone in on the results, we do this simply by saying “no” to the things that will not get us there.
It’s important to know those things. Put them on paper, be self-aware, and make the difficult decision to say “no.” Often, those are things that are going to suck you in. Those are things that are going to be what everyone else is doing in that 90%.
There’s comfort in the masses but if you want to stand out, if you’re going to be different, if you’re going to be better, if you’re serious about improving your results, hone in on your Not-To-Do List.
So, what are some things on my Not-To-Do List?
Right now, my main focus is this message. I turned off my cell phone. I didn’t silence it; I straight-up turned it off, so there are no distractions. I can’t even look at it. It’s off. I turned off my email; it’s not even open, so there is no temptation to look at it.
At the top of my Not-To-Do List is to not wander over to social media and get stuck in the trap of negativity.
My Not-To-Do List includes not watching the news. I make it a point not to watch the news on either side. I don’t care about either angle; that’s their agenda, not mine. I’ll figure out what’s important to me, I don’t need other people telling me, and I don’t need that level of negativity in my life.
My Not-To-Do List when it comes to diet is not to eat certain things that I know suck me in. Carbs and sugars, primarily. I’m particular about what I’m not to eat.
Whatever is on your Not-To-Do List is 100% up to you. It could be only one thing, or it could be a couple of things. My things change day to day.
But today is a pure focus on a workday in blocks. I set myself up in one-hour blocks and take a little time in between to catch up on the things I mentioned.
If there is a call I need to return, a text I need to return, an email I need to follow up with, I give myself 5-10 minutes in between my productivity blocks, but my Not-To-Do List has those things turned off. I can’t have them on because I need to focus on being productive.
So, identify your essential list and time-block your day.
You can have a to-do list, but most importantly is what you’re going to say “no” to.
Challenge yourself to think about those things, write those things down and then, most importantly, commit to not doing them all day long.