Throw away your New Year’s resolutions list of things to do, business owner. Write a Not-to-Do List instead and make 2018 your best year yet.

Two big ideas here:

  1. You must do only what you love and are great at: your Unique Ability®.
  2. Everyone, you included, gets 80% of their results from just 20% of what they do.

Here’s why and how to cut out all that extra stuff you do so you produce more, profit more, and have fun doing it.

Good to Great author Jim Collins found people who built successful companies “made as much use of stop-doing lists as to-do lists. They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk.”

Make your not-to-do list by looking at a sample of past calendar appointments and rating them according to how they used your energy, time, and strengths.

  • Energy: Did the activity energize or drain you? At the end, was your mind spinning as you contemplated possibilities and next steps, or did you just want to collapse on the couch and forget all about it?
  • Time: Was the time invested worth the value generated? (Hint: Odds are, it wasn’t. Just 20% of the time we spend, and the things we do, generate 80% of the value, according to the well-established Pareto Principle.)
  • Strengths: Were you operating from your strengths, or struggling against your weaknesses? People are “able to gain far more when they expend effort to build on their greatest talents than when they spend a comparable amount of effort to remediate their weaknesses.” (Source: Lincoln, Nebraska’s own Donald Clifton!)

Go through each activity and make one X for an energy-drain, a second X for a poor use of time, and a third X for operating from a weakness. As you might guess, three-X activities are prime candidates for X-cision (ba dum bum CHING!) from your regular professional and personal practices.

We’re aiming to get you in your Unique Ability: What you love to do and do best, and what creates the most value for others. It’s going to be a short, short list; remember, 20% of what you do generates 80% of the value.

Feeling competitive? Win the gold medal in not doing when you plug your not-to-do list into the Entrepreneurial Operating System’s Delegate and Elevate tool. If a task’s essential, but you don’t love it and aren’t great at it, delegate it to an employee—and you’ll elevate her or his role as a non-owner starts rocking a formerly “owner only” task.

“What if my whole leadership team had not-to-do lists, and they all delegated and elevated?” Precisely, you overachiever, you. There’s a tool to accomplish that simply and systematically: the Accountability Chart. There’s more at

Delegate and Elevate is part of the Entrepreneurial Operating System®: A complete, proven system with simple tools that help you get three things we call vision, traction, and healthy.

Vision: Get leaders 100% on the same page with where you’re going and how to get there.

Traction: Work with leaders on discipline and accountability, to execute the vision.

Healthy: Build a healthy and cohesive Leadership Team.

From there, as goes your leadership team, so goes the rest of your company. Your entire company gets crystal-clear on your vision; much more disciplined and accountable in executing your vision; gains consistent traction; and moves forward shoulder to shoulder together as a healthy, functional, cohesive team.

Text or call me at (402) 202-2820 if any of this resonates with you. I’d love to show you and your leadership team how to get vision, traction, and healthy right away.