What do you stop doing? #28daysofwriting

Stop sign

All of us these days are bombarded by others and by ourselves to do more. New initiatives, new approaches, new ways to have impact. It’s often about the new.

Doing things well takes time. It takes time to get your head around something new, to work out how to implement it and to review whether it is working or not. So often anything new is framed as being something to try on top of what you already do.

However, you already fill your days, so to do *anything* new you are going to have to stop doing something.
That something might be something you would quickly identify as needing to do less of such as procrastinating. It’s likely these obvious things won’t actually clear that much time. We’d all like to do less of some unproductive things like this, but eliminating them is often just a tweak to productivity. It might make you be a little more productive, but it’s unlikely to clear enough space to leave room for something genuinely new.

If you want to clear that space to do something totally new well, you will probably have to stop doing something that already takes up quite some time. Paradoxically, it’s likely that if you spend a chunk of time doing something you probably value it, or are made to value it by circumstances or external pressures.

So to clear the time needed you will need to drop something you value. Dr Kevan Collins is very interesting on this point. His charity the EEF have over £100 million to run research projects in education. He says that as well as researching what works, it is as important to find out what doesn’t work so that schools and teachers can stop doing it.

It seems an odd approach at first, but unless we know what to stop we will never clear enough time to effectively start anything.

Perhaps all INSET sessions, all CPD conferences, all staff meetings proposing something new should have to first identify what should be stopped in order to make way for it.

In all our good intentions about new things we will do ourselves in our work or our life, we should consider what we need to stop to in order to make the difference we intend.

Photo: CC BY giveawayboy

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