Time Management

How My ‘Stop Doing’ List Helped Me Achieve My Goals In 2018

The things you choose not to do are just as important as the things you choose to do.


I absolutely love ‘to do’ lists! I don’t really love making them, but I adore crossing things off of them. It is such an amazing feeling! I am also that person who writes out ‘to do’ lists and color codes them just to keep it interesting. (Who else has a drawer full of colorful pens?)

There’s just one problem with how I was making these lists though…I used to think more was better and multitasking was more productive. I also had a lot of fun chasing all the shiny objects and butterflies that crossed my path. I am also that person who comes up with an idea for a business and within 30 seconds I have purchased the domain and come up with the entire business plan in my head.

The moment that changed everything for me was when I started my ‘stop doing’ list. It didn’t replace my ‘to do’ list, but it sure did clean up what I allowed myself to spend my time on.

I didn’t come up with this concept on my own.

A few mentors told me I was going to burn myself out doing what I was doing, then I heard somewhere that Brendan Burchard only creates one new program each year (not 3), and then I read about Steve Jobs’ speech at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in 1997 (which I also referenced in this article about publicity here).

Jobs said...

“What focus means is saying no to something that you [think]--with every bone in your body--is a phenomenal idea. And you wake up thinking about it. But you say no to it because you're focusing on something else."

It wasn’t easy to do…

I had to say “no” to a lot of opportunities that could have been really fun (like working with a celebrity client, a brand partnership for a beauty product, becoming the Chief Communications Officer for a startup, giving a talk about Artificial Intelligence…). I am not one to focus on regrets, but if I had to pick only one thing to do differently in the past year I would have listened to my mentors and decided to ‘stop doing’ sooner.

I still like to run before I learn to walk, but now I have learned to add a step in between those two things: PAUSE.

Pause and ask myself “Is this sprint going to move the needle forward that I have committed to focus on?”

If the answer is “no,” then it goes on the ‘stop doing’ list.

If FOCUS is your goal for 2019, I hope you will consider creating a ‘stop doing’ list too and say ‘no’ to some amazing opportunities so you can make space for the ‘right’ opportunities to come your way.

Here’s to making 2019 the best year yet!

If getting more visibility for yourself or your business is on your 2019 'to do' list, check out Imposter to Influencer. The only group program that teaches you how to build your thought leadership and get featured in the media by becoming your own publicist. It's great for coaches, consultants, and service-based entrepreneurs who want to gain publicity without hiring an agency.

Top 6 Tips to Get More Done Every Day

If you are wondering how you can stop feeling unproductive and guilty for not getting more done each day, these 6 tips are for you!


You probably naturally have a lot of ideas. When you first come up with an idea you feel this rush of adrenaline and excitement about it! Then as time passes, doubt starts to creep in. You might start to wonder how you are going to execute it. Maybe you start putting a plan into action and you hit a roadblock. Then you want to give up because it gets hard. Or maybe you tell a few people about it and they crush it before it ever had a chance to come to life. That is how we all start right? With just one idea...a spark that breathes life into us.

Let's say you made it over all of those initial obstacles. As time passes, we put some systems in place to be able to keep going, we have pushed ourselves outside of our comfort zones! We feel like we are really winning! Things that used to make us uncomfortable become comfortable and we aren't quite sure where to go from here. We can't really put a word to what we are feeling - is it bored? 

The initial adrenaline rush, the spark, has gone and we don't really feel like we are growing anymore. Does that make us unsuccessful? We get restless and start looking for things to change - do we change our branding? Do we look to redesign our website? 

What we are looking to "fix" is not really broken though! Your website is great! Your branding has gotten you this far! What you are looking for is to be pushed outside of your comfort zone again. The problem is you aren't sure where to go from here. You are on an unpaved path and there is nobody there to tell you which way to go. You feel stuck.

Does this sound like you?

I have been there too! It is so frustrating when you know that you are capable of so much and you are having trouble taking action.



When you make a list, you usually keep adding to it right? So you never feel like you have gotten anything accomplished because you keep going back to the same list and it never ends. Even if you got 10 things done that day you are still focusing on the things you didn’t get done and it makes you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything.

They say you should only focus on ONE big goal each day and that multitasking decreases productivity. As high achievers, I have to say that we probably wouldn’t be satisfied with only accomplishing one thing each day so I prefer to have three goals for each day. Here is how I break it down:

·     The first goal I set is something difficult or time-consuming. This is usually something I have been avoiding or something that pushes me out of my comfort zone. It is something that I really do not want to do, but it is usually something that is going to have a return on my time investment if I just do it.

·     The second goal I set is something easy. This is something that I know is going to take me less than an hour to complete. After I do the difficult thing, I need a quick win. This quick win pushes us over the halfway point in our to-do lists and tricks our minds into getting that “second wind” or burst of energy because we are almost done with everything we set out to do! [Yay!]

·     The third goal is something FUN! It is the reason why I created my business in the first place, it is something I really enjoy doing and maybe even my absolute favorite part of being an entrepreneur. Remember when you first started and there was that one thing you did that really set your soul on fire? Or maybe your new and this is the thing you could spend hours and hours doing. This is like a reward! The faster you get the first two things crossed off your to do list, the more time you get to spend on this last goal.

Why do I break it down like this?

Have you ever ran a marathon? Ok, me neither - but I can only imagine what it would be like. Here is how I envision it going: The first mile is energizing! You feel the wind on your face, you feel on top of the world, you have been pacing yourself and everything is going smoothly just like you planned. About 5 miles in you start to feel the burn a little bit, but you are still on that high of running a marathon and crossing something off of your bucket list.

Then you get about ¾ of the way through the race and you want to die! Your legs might fall off. You are miserable. You are hangry. You are tired. You want to give up, but you know you didn’t come this far to only come this far. You stop looking for the finish line because it will drive you crazy, and you focus only on putting one foot in front of the other and taking that next step. You know the finish line is there somewhere and if you just keep moving eventually you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Nobody gets a medal for stopping before they reach the finish line so if you quit now you have just wasted all of the effort that you have put into the part of the race that you have already completed. Then, you get to the finish line and you want to collapse but you are happy! You finished something you had started and when it got difficult you didn’t give up! Go you!


There is no such thing as a Facebook emergency (or an Instagram emergency, or any social media emergency). If you do not respond to every comment or know how many likes you have or track how many new followers you just got, you are going to be okay. In fact, checking those things 24/7 will make you really anxious and distract you from other important things you should be doing for your business.


If you know that you have certain hours of the day where you have “downtime” or fewer distractions, set your office hours during that time. For example, I have women in my online community who are momtrepreneurs and they schedule their super productive time when their children are napping. It is important to recognize when you have more distractions or more obligations and to not try to be productive during those hours. Plus, blocking out time to work will actually make you more productive!

It is easier to do things fast than it is to things slowly. Remember the last time you had all weekend to clean your house and you find yourself sitting down on Sunday evening wondering where all of your time went and how you haven’t done one thing to tidy up around your house? However, if someone calls you on a weeknight and says they will be over in an hour suddenly you can clean your entire house and make it look like nobody lives there in 45 minutes. It is easier to do things when you give yourself a time limit or a deadline whether you are a procrastinator or not.


It is bound to happen sooner or later - you are going to try something new and it is going to take you twice as long as you thought it would. Sometimes you run into some technical difficulties or you find that you thought it was going to be simple and you end up getting sucked into a Google search trying to teach yourself something you have never heard of before. You live and you learn. Forgive yourself for not knowing and don’t be hard on yourself for being less productive than you thought you would be. This is all a part of the process!

Do you remember the first time you did laundry? You had no idea how long it was going to take if the washing machine didn’t have a timer on it. You probably also shrank a few shirts, lost some socks, and maybe even forgot to check your pockets and had a pen explode all over everything. Over time you learned how to multitask in between loads of laundry or found a nice wash and fold to drop things off at for someone else to do it, but my point is you learned how to do it more efficiently with time. Plus, you learned not to keep making the same mistakes over and over again.


Who needs to be called out for grabbing their phone first thing in the morning because it doubles as your alarm clock and then you spend the next 2 hours working from bed answering emails and checking social media? Try to start a new morning routine! Get out of bed, open the curtains, let the sunshine in, drink your water with lemon, meditate, practice gratitude, whatever it is that you want to do that is not related to your business - do that for at least 10 minutes first thing in the morning. Be present. Your e-mails can wait 10 minutes and it will help you wake up on the “right” side of the bed.


It is so important to get away from your desk, walk around, and get some fresh air. If you work from home, maybe you just need to walk around the block every once in a while or schedule some in-person meetings instead of always meeting on the phone so that you are getting out of your home at least once a day. Sometimes as creatives we get on a role and we don’t want to stop what we are doing, but if it gets to the point where your “role” has lasted 3 days and you don’t remember what day of the week it is then it might be time to get out and take a break.

Looking for a customized plan to help you get focused, be more productive, and build momentum in your business? 

Tara's clients report "getting more done in 3 weeks then the last 3 years of unproductive work"! 

How To Improve Your Relationship With Time

Here are 3 ways you can take control of how you are spending your time instead of feeling like your calendar controls you.

Photo: Pixabay

Photo: Pixabay

In the beginning when your business is just an idea you might feel like time is passing very slowly. You are stuck and you haven’t quite built up the confidence yet to get started. You know you want to, but there is something holding you back. You feel like your idea actually turning into a business is so far away and out of reach.

Fast forward to after you get started and suddenly you are juggling what feels like 100 different things. You start to feel like there is not enough time to do everything you want to do. You wake up early and stay up late and 4 hours of sleep becomes the new normal. You begin learning faster than you can implement things in your business and you feel like you are constantly behind. Your to do list becomes increasingly longer. You stop doing things that you used to enjoy doing because your business is your priority.

Of course you want to build momentum in your business so that you can get it off the ground, but at some point you have to stop and make sure you are finding a balance.

We read books and listen to podcasts that tell us to do more and to be better. The truth is, if you are starting a business and working a full time job while trying to balance your entire life around it then you are already doing more.

Let’s take a step back and look at where the idea that there is not enough time comes from.

·     Did your parents or grandparents ever say, “The early bird gets the worm”?

·     Did your parents ever tell you that they didn’t have time to do something with you?

·     Have you ever told your friends that you can’t hang out with them because you’re too busy?

·     Has anyone ever asked you, “Is that really what you want to spend your time doing”?

·     Have you ever heard the saying, “Time is slipping away”?

We learn that time is precious and it should be spent wisely. We also learn that there isn’t always enough time to do the things we want to do, but we always make time for things that are necessary. Have you ever seen a child ask their parent if they could go to the park and play and the parent responds that they don’t have time, but maybe tomorrow. On the other hand, if a child falls down and hurts themselves then their parent will drop what they are doing and come to the rescue.

Let’s go back to our businesses now. We have created a vision for where we want our business to be and now we are racing to make that vision a reality as soon as possible. But, do you remember why you started your business in the first place? Wasn’t it because it made you happy?

If you look at the leaders in your industry who have been doing this longer than you, do you think that they got to the top and then decided they were done? No. If you are lucky enough to find something that you love doing, something that sets your soul on fire, then wouldn’t you want to do it forever?

If you know that you want to be an entrepreneur forever then you no longer need to race against time. You need to trust that your business will evolve into what it is meant to be as long as you are consistently putting forth an effort.

If you continue to go down the path of racing to the top then you will end up feeling exhausted, uninspired, overwhelmed, and burned out. I know because I did this. My wake-up call was when I took a vacation from my job so that I could work on my side hustle and I had no energy to do anything. I basically slept for an entire week.


Here are 3 ways you can take charge of time and stop letting it control you:

1. Replace the word “busy” with “productive”.

Think about what the word “busy” means to you and notice your energy levels, your posture, and your mood when you say that word. It feels like such a downer, doesn’t it? Now think about how you feel when you say the word “productive”. It feels like you have achieved something or created something! So catch yourself when you are using the word “busy” and replace it with the word “productive”. If you find yourself using the word “busy” often then think about what it is actually doing. Saying you are busy is enabling procrastination, holding you back, and keeping you stuck. “Busy” can turn into a distraction that keeps you from doing the things you need to be doing to propel yourself and your business forward.

Let me introduce you to one of the most important words you will ever think or say: “yet”. If you add that to the end of a sentence you will feel less overwhelmed and more hopeful. You will know that you can solve any problem and you can learn any new skill. Repeat after me, “I haven’t learned that, yet.”

2. Be proud!

Studies have shown that having pride in your work actually makes you work twice as hard. There are two different kinds of pride and while we might be taught that it is a deadly sin, there are actually benefits to pride when it comes from a genuine place. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you feel more confident celebrating your pride:

·     Are you proud because you tried something new that you never thought you would be able to do? (*hint: you are only competing with yourself)

·     Does your pride come from a place of compassion? Maybe you are proud of something you did that benefited those around you.

·     Did you work really hard and put in a lot of effort to achieve it?

·     Does it motivate you to want to do more?

If you answered "YES!" to any of these (or all of them) then shout yourself out!

For more information on this study you can read Take Pride by Jessica Tracy.

3. Recognize the days of the week and times of day that you are most creative.

Work on your business during those times. There is no rule that says your week is supposed to start on a Monday and that you are supposed to dread that day. My week starts on Wednesday because I have found that I have the most energy at the end of the week. Mondays and Tuesdays I usually have less energy so I am sure to set aside time to do something that fills my cup on those days.

While it might be quicker to go down the path that has been paved for you, it might be worth it to take your time paving your own. Just as we learn to be present in our lives, it is equally as important to be present in our businesses and enjoy the journey.