Personal Development

Forget the “To-Do” List Create a “Stop-Doing” List

A “to-do” list can serve as an important tool in helping one manage many of life’s obligations. Similar to a “to-do” list is a “success list,” which focuses on small tasks essential to achieving one’s long-term goals. What both of these lists have in common is that they can unintentionally lead to multi-tasking, which research has shown to be inefficient and ineffective.   

As it relates to a “stop-doing” list, here’s what I’m proposing. First, a “stop-doing” list is not a “to-do” list with fewer items to check off. A stop-doing list has one thing on it—that’s it! In other words, everything not listed on the stop-doing list is what you will stop doing in order to focus on your most prized long-term goal.  

Whatever you would love to be doing for the rest of your life—well, that’s what you want to write down on your stop-doing list. I highlight this point because many people create a stop-doing list with good intentions, only to later turn it into a to-do list. But that is not the goal of a stop-doing list.


The value of creating a stop-doing list is to slow down the busyness of one’s life to manageable chunks of time. It also eliminates clutter and reduces a success initiative down to its essential level. A stop-doing list helps one focus on a specific goal that is both urgent and important—an objective one ought to prioritize. 

So rather than piling on and continually adding more goals (more interruptions and more distractions) to a to-do list, think about the one thing you value the most and direct your energy on that one idea. Success is built upon having a singular focus and dedicating set hours toward the materialization of that goal each day. 

The key to getting extraordinary results is to lock in on a ridiculously impossible goal and never let goand that’s the magic a stop-doing list brings. For those of you, who, like me, desire to experience measurable progress toward our dreams and lift our reality to new heights; perhaps, it’s time to do less in order to accomplish more in the long term.



16 thoughts on “Forget the “To-Do” List Create a “Stop-Doing” List

    1. Yes, in many instances, less can be more. In studying the lives of highly successful people, I saw that those individuals locked in on a single idea for many years until that idea bore fruit. And the success of that one idea would open doors to many other opportunities. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I had to find this for myself about twenty years ago. It wasn’t enough to create a to-do list and seek balance, because, as I grew older, I found myself carrying larger bags of negative energy. I had to develop the insights into why I acted as I did, and then learn how to cut the impact; I had to learn how to stop others from controlling my behavior. Thus was born my “Stop-Doing List”. As you note, I then had to ask myself, what is my priority? Because where I should put my time and energy. That’s what I needed to be doing first, and most religiously.

    Along the way, I came to understand, too, how dynamic we are as people. We’re constantly changing, and I can direct my change, if I can stay cognizant of it.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing it. Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

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