Happy New Year! Have a “Stop Doing” List?


Happy New Year to my blog readers! Do you have any “lean resolutions” for the year 2010? Feel free to share them, if you like, in the comments section for this post. Here were some resolutions from two years ago, if anyone wants to revisit those.

Alternatively, taking a cue from Jim Collins via Matthew E. May, do you have any “stop doing” items for 2010, things that you'll stop doing or do less of to free up time for the things you should do? Here is Matthew's blog post on the topic from earlier in 2009 (I almost typed, “earlier this year”).

Blogging is not on my “stop doing list.” I hope that's not a confusing double-negative. I will continue blogging. I enjoy blogging and I learn a ton in the process and meet some great people. So the decision to continue blogging is an easy one.

I am going to formally kill, I think, the Message Board I had set up at www.leanboard.org. It was a cheap experiment from a few years ago, had a few interesting discussions and job postings, but it's never taken off as a place for people to talk Lean online. And that's OK. Update: I did end that experiment.

We now have a ton of LinkedIn groups and the LEI forums have improved from a few years ago. I've quit promoting the board and won't be taking new users. The board became particularly tough to manage after the site got on some Russian spammer list and I started getting, literally, dozens of spam bogus registrations every day from people trying to get in to post spam.

So that “stop doing” won't save a ton of time, really. I probably need to spend more time thinking through the “stop doings” — do you have any to share? Maybe sharing them, in the blog comments, will inspire others, including myself, to be more effective in 2010. There's never enough time to do all of the things I'd like to do… I need a longer “stop doing” list and a better set of priorities, maybe.

Oh, I have sort of put the “Video Podcasts” on the “stop doing” list since August. I still have one more from Dr. Sami Bahri and two from Norman Bodek to edit and put out there. The video podcasts are a bit more time consuming and I got a lot of feedback that video didn't add much over audio. What are thoughts on that? Do more or “stop doing?”

Happy New Year to my readers from around the world. Feel free to leave a New Year's greeting in your native language, if you like.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. A few weeks ago, I stopped catching up with my blog reading most nights of the week, and I’m amazed at how much better I feel, how much more time it seems like I have. I haven’t actually reduced the total number of blogs I read (though I did some of that, too), but doing it in chunks a couple of times a week instead of spread out over the whole week made a big difference: I had many more evenings in which I had enough time to get something else done that was important to me.

    Which, I just realized, is kind of ironic to be writing on a lean blog: I’m increasing my batch size instead of decreasing it. Hmm, I wonder what’s the most productive way to look at this result through lean eyes?

  2. Too many people don’t practice this as they should. Whether a giant corporation or just one person, there should always be a ‘stop doing’ list. Here’s another blogger’s comments on ‘stop doing’: http://whitehottruth.com/business-wealth-articles/whats-your-stop-doing-list/

    To David, yes it seems ironic to increase batch size, but as Dan Markovitz of Time Back would tell you, you are also decreasing the amount of task switching you are doing. Task switching drastically reduces efficiency.

  3. David – I agree with Jamie, don’t worry about the personal “batching.” I think it’s an imperfect analogy to the idea of manufacturing batch sizes, where large batches lead to lots of inventory and long cycle times. If your personal batching of your reading makes you more effective, overall, then go for it! If you make a change in your work, do it with the PDCA mindset and if your change is really an improvement or not.

    Thanks for reading and for commenting. Happy New Year.

  4. No energy vampires! That’s one of my resolutions for this year, which supports the concept of “stop doing.” Last year, I resolved to get rid of two active vampires and when I succeeded, I gained so much more mental and physical energy. I am now trying to prevent any vampires from getting a foothold in my life.

    As for batching, I too agree it can be an efficient way for individuals and small teams to work, especially for tasks that require deep thinking. Task switching really hurts the quality of your work.


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