One phrase I too often hear from clients almost makes me lose my mind, “But we’ve always done it this way!” 

It’s often said in a whiny or pleading voice as if I don’t somehow understand the importance of their history.

As we approach the holidays (and hopefully some downtime for all you overtasked executives reading this), here are ten things to STOP doing. 

1: Attending unnecessary meetings (to stay in the loop)

You know this isn’t a productive expenditure of your time, but you can’t resist. Most people are too scared to admit they use these meetings as a mental break. I’m NOT anti-break; I take several walks daily to clear my head and get my focus back on track. Time to reset is invaluable. Just be deliberate when doing so. 

2: Gossiping.

Let’s loosely define gossiping as “Talking about someone or something when you cannot help the situation in any way possible.” Stop this immediately. Please don’t engage in it, nor allow others to engage in it. It is disastrous for your efforts and will derail your entire organization unless stopped.

3: Playing with your phone and social media.

I know many of you immediately pictured me in a rocking chair on my porch, yelling at kids to “get off my lawn” when you read this one. Here is the truth, you are wasting (yes, WASTING) more time on your devices and social media than you realize. And, no, I don’t care who “YOU” are – I know this one applies to you. Put your phone down, get off Facebook (or whatever they are calling it today), quit obsessing over that “Insta-ready” photo while missing the moment, stop being a keyboard warrior on Twitter, and start being present in your life. 

4: Being loose with your calendar

Your calendar doesn’t own you – you own your calendar. Be deliberate with it and ensure you are giving your time to those efforts deserving of it. When you DO realize (and you will) that you are wasting time where you shouldn’t, create a STOP-DOING LIST and stick to it. Discipline takes time and effort, but the results are well worth it.

5: Accepting complacency.

I see this everywhere, and everyone has an excuse for it. We live in crazy times, and nothing will kill your efforts faster than accepting mediocrity. BUT: don’t mistake this for perfection. The last perfect person walked the Earth over 2,000 years ago. Seeking perfection will do nothing more than drain your bank account and paralyze your efforts.

6: Being too agreeable

I don’t mean turning into an ass; I mean sticking to your core values and knowing when you are right. Don’t be a pushover, a yes-man (or woman), or a Milquetoast (that one’s for you, Pete). Stand your ground, but don’t die on a hill not worth your attention. Choose your battles wisely, but be prepared to fight them when they arrive.

7: Avoiding conflict

Speaking of fighting… (just kidding). Even if you work with your best friends in the whole world, conflict will appear. Don’t be the person who always escalates the conflict to a weird level, but don’t be afraid to stick with your gut when you know what’s right.

8: Being too hard on yourself

We’d never let others say half the mean things about us that we routinely tell ourselves. Stop the negativity. Learn from your mistakes when they happen. Life is precious, and we only get one ride on the merry-go-round. Please don’t waste it with self-hate and negativity.

9: Trying to please everyone

Here is a hard truth for many of you: you will not please everyone, and not everyone will be a fan of what you do or say. I still throw up in my mouth each time anyone tells me they bought a copy of my book, yet I love writing and feel my book adds value to people. If you aren’t getting negative feedback periodically, you aren’t reaching enough people.

10: Being disengaged during non-work hours

Please refer back to #3 above. When you are with your family, BE with your family. When you are at your kid’s game, BE at your kid’s game. Facebook and Instagram can wait for your perfect photo. Twitter can wait for your excellent and well-timed hateful response. TikTok can wait. Period. 

The likes you get for the photo of your child aren’t worth not being in the moment WITH your child. Likes mean nothing – they are simply a ploy by Zuckerburg and compatriots to get you wanting more. You should feel stupid when you realize you’ve been manipulated. 

I say that in a desire to help you stop: stop being played and start being deliberate in what you do.