The “Stop Doing List”

Why it’s okay to be a quitter

Verified News Community, we are side by side for the long haul. That’s why I like to keep you in the loop with what we are doing behind the scenes at Verified News Network (VNN) and why. After all, we are building a better news network together. Your news network.

And I am pretty pleased with the work we are doing together here lately.

For me, the “Stop Doing” was a new kind of list.

Surprising. I have been making lists for decades. How could this one have squeaked by me for so long?

Probably because I am no quitter. I start something, I keep going. I don’t quit. I never give up!

But, as I continued to grow as an entrepreneur (and a human!), I eventually learned that quitting isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it’s often a great thing.

As a news entrepreneur, I’m constantly looking for new ways to make our news business more sustainable. When I came across the LION-GNI Sustainability Audits program, I was thrilled. An audit and funding program that identifies roadblocks and offers recommendations on how to overcome them.

After four years of building our independent news network, this was just what we needed.

Success! We were accepted. I put us through the audit process and received our recommendations.

OUCH. First on my list of recommendations was another list: The Stop Doing List.

It took me a full day to pick that report up again and continue reading.

Why? Because I’m a human with human feelers. I don’t like to admit when my ideas don’t work. I don’t like the idea that I am giving up on something too early. I don’t like to admit that I am wrong.

After 24 hours, I was able to put my business helmet back on. I had come to a few conclusions:

Realizing what doesn’t work helps me figure out what does.

Some of my ideas are working and I should focus more time on those.

Just because an idea didn’t work doesn’t mean I am a failure.

It was time to get started. First, I broke our business down into three main categories of work.

  1. VNN Network and Software Platform Our main umbrella company under which the VNN app (our social news media platform) and all of our VNN states operate.
  2. VNN Original Reporting For me, this is VNN Oklahoma, where I produce original content series and other general news.
  3. VNN Marketing The department that funds much of our VNN operations through media production and news sponsorship for local businesses and organizations.

Next, I listed the projects and tasks that I have started under each category of work.

It was important for me to list ideas that I had started but never officially stopped. Why?

The need for closure is a real thing. I stopped making time for certain things I started doing because there wasn’t a big enough payoff, but yet there they are. Always lurking somewhere in the back of my mind.

A Stop Doing List isn’t just more bandwidth for your workday. It’s more bandwidth for your brain.

Makes me feel lighter just thinking about officially giving those ideas up.

After listing all of my projects and tasks, I realized I was trying to do 48 things.

No wonder I am so tired all of the time.

I organized my list (because again, professional list maker) into an excel spreadsheet with three columns next to each item: Time Spent 1-5 (with 1 be the least amount of time and 5 being the most), Stop Doing?, and Do Differently?

Next, I will go down the line, rate how much time each item takes and decide whether I am going to stop doing it or do it differently (because sometimes to stop doing something a certain way is a better option that stopping it altogether).

It’s also important to note that this Stop Doing List is my plan for a set amount of time. I am not going to stop doing all of these things forever. I will revisit some of these ideas in the future. This Stop Doing List will be a living document, a visual reminder of what is working and what is just taking up space.

Want to see the end results of VNN’s Stop Doing List? Subscribe for free news and updates here.

We are looking forward to quitting what doesn’t work and focusing on what does.

And if you’re feeling overextended in your work and personal life, we encourage you give the Stop Doing List a try, too!