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What’s On Your Stop-Doing List?

Lissa Rankin's picture

stop-doing list

Twice in 24 hours, I came across this question. I read Chris Guillebeau’s fabulous book The Art of Non-Conformity, then I dove right into Danielle LaPorte’s The Fire-Starter Sessions e-course. Both asked of me what I wanted to take off my plate.

Given that I’m looking forward to 2011 and realizing that I have some choices to make about how to expend my energy, this twice-in-24-hours serendipity seems like a giant bonk on the noggin from the Universe. Yes, Universe, I’m listening. 2010 has been busy- exceedingly busy. I’ve birthed two books, an integrative medicine practice, a new website, a magazine column, a 20 city book tour, a touring art project, and countless other creations. 2010 was a year of YES. I followed the motto “Just say YES,” and magical things happened because of that. I ventured down dark, overgrown paths with no road map; I said yes to people I didn’t know who wanted to meet me; I said yes to experiencing Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts and Sheila Kelley’s S Factor retreat and countless other transformative experiences.

But I can’t keep saying yes forever. Looking forward to 2011, I long for space -- clear space, open space, creative nothingness. When I have space, my creativity flourishes. The Universe speaks to me and channels all kinds of juicy stuff through me. Things flow with ease. But when I’m busy all the time, everything gets all muddled.

Which means something’s gotta give. What will it be?

Danielle LaPorte suggests thinking of the tasks that call upon your time and energy and asking yourself these three questions:

1) What are you deeply passionate about?

2) What are you are genetically encoded for — what activities do you feel just "made to do"?

3) What makes economic sense — what can you make a living at?

If you can’t say yes to at least two of these questions when you think about what you’re doing, consider slapping it onto your stop-doing list.

Here are some preliminary thoughts of what’s going on mine (although I’m still pondering, so don’t hold me to this).

My Stop-Doing List

1.     Conference calls. I have too many of them. They fill up my day and steal my creative time. I want out.

2.     Reading emails that are not addressed to me but I’m cc’ed on.

3.     Doing public speaking events without getting paid (unless it juices me up to do so).

4.     Meeting up with people I don’t know who want to meet me. I don’t want to be rude, but I barely have time for the people I love the most, and as awesome as these people are, they fill up my day.

5.     Leaving Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail open on my desktop. (I stole that one from Danielle). When I’m creating, I’m going to just turn them off.

So those are a few. Not one of those things lights me up, connects me with my passion, takes advantage of my natural gifts, or makes economic sense.

What Do You DO With Your Stop-Doing List?

Sure, it seems all well and good to list the things you don’t want to do. I’m blessed that my Stop-Doing List is relatively short because I stopped doing the things I truly hated four years ago, and my hubby has picked up a lot of the slack of the mundane details in our lives. (Chances are good that his Stop-Doing List would be VERY long because of me.) So I hear you. After all, who wants to do laundry or act like a taxi service for your four kids or make Costco runs or manage other tedious details? But what if those things need doing? Who is going to do them if everyone stops doing what they don’t love to do?

I’m not suggesting that you must instantly quit doing everything on your list. But adding these things to your Stop-Doing List is a form of intention-setting. When you set the intention that something will change, things happen. Your cells shift. Your DNA realigns. The Universe listens. And magic happens.

What’s On YOUR Stop-Doing List?

Think through your day. Write down what fills up your time? What do you wish to let go of so you can open up more white space in your life? Don’t judge what comes up. And don’t worry about the “how.” Just write it down. Let us bear witness to your list. Tell us here.

Not doing anything on my list this very minute,


PS. I actually wrote this post about a month ago (and just got around to putting it up today.) Rereading it, I realize that this question posed by Chris and Danielle must have triggered something BIG in me, because, since writing this post, I've decided to stop doing medicine, which is a HUGE deal for me. I spent 12 year and hundreds of thousands of dollars learning how to start doing medicine, but it's always been a bit of a misfit for me. Since I decided to stop doing medicine, I feel more liberated than I've ever felt in my life. I feel free. So don't be afraid of what comes up for you when you think about what you'd like to stop doing. Think of it as loosening your chains.



Lissa Rankin's picture

Free yourself, Holly!

You go girl! It's so helpful to get clear on what no longer serves you...
So glad the post helped.
Big hugs

Holly's picture

Something's Gotta Give

There are three things I need to do:
Stop letting other people dictate how I get things done.
Stop beating up on myself when something doesn't go my way.
Stop the negative thoughts because these are really getting in my way.
Thanks for this post-it had great timing.

Krishna's picture

Love it!!

What a refreshing idea....I love it!! For this new year, let's make a "not to do list" instead of "to do" resolutions. It's pretty darn amazing how much of our time, energy, and effort is sucked away by useless tasks and chores, not to mention downright negative ones. Maybe this is why we always feel like we are "losing" time??

P.S. Dr. Lissa, you are a true inspiration in so many ways - A big Thank You to you and all the other Pinkies as well!!

Jodi Marze's picture

Divine timing!

I second Megan in thanking you for laying this out! I have prioritizing to do before I emerge from my home cave of nurturing today.
I have things that I show up for that makes my insides scream for me to get out. It is time to ditch those things with no guilt.
1. Meetings that do not resonate with MY purpose and goals. It is a waste of time for me as I am NEVER completely PRESENT.
2. Getting involved in personal drama.
These are the two biggest things that I see. I am completely sure that other things will reveal themselves once the fog lifts from the two items listed. But this is an excellent start and I feel more freedom already. :)

Megan Monique Harner's picture

Thanks for laying this out

Thanks for laying this out us! What I saw is that what I love doing and what I was put here to do is to create a clearing for others to see themselves. To see the really, tangible love that exists within all of us. I can make a living out of this. I just need to OWN it.

What I want to stop doing is social media. It is scary saying that outloud, but sometimes I don't even enjoy doing my own account so it isn't FUN for me to do others. If I could create workshops (online and virtually) and coach- I'm set.

Of course there are some creative things I love doing as well, but right now they won't pay the bills!

Beth's picture

STOP doing

Stop fiddling around all day and not getting anything done for MY Business
STOP saying "you can't do that"
STOP being so down on myself when i have bad days

I said yes to two of them, #3..is part of the you can't do that etc..
Last year i put out to the universe..I want my family back..and i have it now, including my deceased fathers sister who is 80 and on FACEBOOK lol..i'm going to go visit her and other sister this spring. I need stories and pictures..since dad died when i was 10.

This year i'm putting out there Its time for Beth to grow and do what she's passionate about and becoming independant, and herself again..in the immortal words of Queen "Don't stop me now"
Yeah i know music lol..and yes I want to get a paying gig back in radio..big one universe!!

Dana..we need to get together for coffee soon!

Dana Theus's picture

Good Question

Here is my answer:

STOP managing ANYTHING I'm not getting paid for.
DO learn how to be present and contribute to things that are important to me (whether I'm getting paid for them or not) by simply BEING present for them when I can be.

I am evolving into greater aspects of myself by participating in things that do not pay me money, and it's important that I stay connected to them for this reason, but I have to stop letting them drown me in detail and I have to stop treating them as though I were getting paid (when I'm not) so that I can free myself of the constraints I set on myself when I'm getting paid (fulfilling contract terms etc).

And when I AM getting paid, I need to stop accepting work that drowns me in details and takes me down bunny trails away from my purpose.

Your purpose can only find its way into you if you create the space for it to get in.

Not sure if this makes sense to anyone but me, but it does make sense to me. Thanks for bearing witness.


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