I’ve read several different people who suggest that a stop doing list is as important as a to-do list. This year I decided I was going to stop saying yes to additional volunteer commitments. I just said no to a second term on a non-profit board. It was difficult, but I’m working on a book and I know I have to stop doing some community-related stuff to finish.
I’ve written before about my attempt to stop checking e-mail so often. So far I’m failing. I can’t help wondering if someone out there is thinking about me (especially about wanting to publish my book). It’s still on my stop-doing list even if I haven’t stopped doing it. Related to this is my decision to get off a lot of the cool e-mail newsletters I subscribe to and don’t read, or do read instead of doing something else more important, like doing my own writing.
On my personal stop doing list are these: complaining how the house looks when I get home from a speaking trip; eating snacks out of the container (instead of writing…); and worrying about my children’s future.
What should you stop doing in your ministry? In your personal life?
6 replies on “What Should You Stop Doing?“
Sometimes we just have to notice what we’re doing as a prelude to stopping.
Well, I guess I should stop stealing my neighbor’s newspaper, for starters. At least during Lent.
I appreciated your thoughts about the ‘stop-doing’ list. I get carried away when someone in the church is angry or hurt about something. My thoughts get started about doing something to make them not hurt or not be angry. This is both silly and ridiculous. So, my ‘stop-doing’ has to do with holding unto my own vision and my own responsibilities instead of getting carried away and thinking about doing someone else’s responsibilities because, erroneously, I think it might make them feel better.
Getting willful toward ourselves is something to pay attention to. It does help the resistance kick in. I do think on some level we stop doing things when we are ready to, or fed up enough with things as they are.
Whenever somebody tells me to do or to stop doing something, I tend to resist. I’m invested in the way things are. When I tell myself to do or to stop doing something, there’s also resistance. The stop-doing list, especially, is a resistance-generator. Too often I treat my do- and stop- lists, and all the “shoulds” on them, as external pressures rather than as my own self’s aims.
I think it’s important to be clearly connected to one’s self’s motives for stopping stuff: less email, to allow for more writing; less irritation with people, by increasing connection with them.
I’m working on the same thing. One thing on my stop-doing list is thinking resentful thoughts about people who irritate me. I almost always find that when I get to know the person better, I don’t feel resentful any more. Just being open to people who are irritating helps me get past the irritation and into a better place.