Top 11 things not to do.

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Over the last several years I have read so many articles and posts about the things we should do in life, especially in business and career. Top things to eat, the best workouts, the best things to do to stay healthy and the top things to do to become more efficient at work.
I thought it was time to change things up and give you a list of things not to do in your business or career. That will hopefully reduce your stress and allow you to enjoy your life a little bit more than you have been.

1.Don’t email first thing in the morning or at night.
The former scrambles your priorities and plans for the day, and the latter just gives you insomnia. E-mail can wait until 10am, after you’ve completed at least one of your prioritized to-do items for the day…
If you use your phone before you go to bed, this could affect your sleep patterns because of the blue light that emits from the phone. Also looking at your phone before bed is another stress-or, that can affect your sleep. How do you think you are going to get a good night sleep when your boss tells you that you screwed something up or that you have to work on something first thing in the morning?
Try doing a power-down hour before you go to sleep. No phones, tv or computers. Relax, take a bath or read a book. Anything that can calm your mind and body to get it ready for the most important time of your day. When you are sleeping your body performs a maintenance routine which includes a internal detox which is critical to a healthy body.


 2. Don’t check your e-mail every 5 seconds.
The average person checks their phone 85 times a day. 85 times a day.  
Do not have the e-mail application open all day. E-mail has become a distraction that will prevent you from getting real work accomplished. Each time you open an e-mail you interrupt your through process. Therefore, you stop working on the task at hand and direct your attention to the email that you just opened.

Studies have shown that once you take your attention of the task at hand it takes about 15-20 minutes to regroup and pick up where you left off.
Email was developed to allow people to communicate with each other when they had the time to respond. We still have phones that are supposed to be used to initiate high priority communications.
To make myself more efficient I only check my e-mail twice a day. I setup an appointment in my calendar to check my email at 10:00am and 2:00pm. It is unbelievable, and you know what? The world hasn’t ended. I am much more efficient, and people catch on very quickly and they adapted to my email protocol.

3. Don’t be a slave to technology.
Most of society have their phones attached to their noses. I am not sure they haven’t made up a nosie stick. Like a selfie stick but it attaches to your face like glasses.
Unless you are the president or a top brain surgeon in the world, there is no need to carry your phone 24/7.
I do get a sick satisfaction watching people walking into things. They seem to think that looking at that foolish screen is more important than the mac truck that is heading toward them at 60 mph.

Unplug and enjoy: 

  1. Take one day of the week and make that your technology free day. Sat or Sun are typically the best choices. If you use your phone as a camera put it on airplane mode. Also stay away from computers, Ipad’s, etc. Spend the time with the people you love, be present with them and create magical moments.
  2. No phones at dinner time.
  3. Stop googling shit. Every once and a while try using your brain to remember something. I can remember many light years ago at a party, I was trying to remember a name of a specific movie. We went back and forth for about an hour and we finally figured out what the movie was because we used our brains and Google was not around. That was fun. Shit.I forgot the name of the movie again. It was the one with Cuba Gooding Jr and Robert Deniro and they were deep sea divers for the Navy.
  4. Disable pop up application notifications on your phone. Do you really need to have your life interrupted because Sally posted a picture of her sandwich on Facebook?

4.Don’t answer your phone to unknown numbers. I don’t like being surprised by a phone call about something that I am unaware of. I haven’t been caught off guard by a sales person, Phishing expedition or someone trying to sell me shit that I don’t need in about a decade. If the number is unknown, I don’t want to waste my valuable time speaking to someone I don’t know. This is surely a time suck of life. Sometimes, even if I know the number I let it go to voicemail. So, I know what they are calling about and can have a sufficient response for them when I return their call.

5.Don’t waste time in meetings that have no agenda. If the desired outcome is defined clearly with a stated objective and agenda listing topics/questions to cover, no meeting or call should last more than 30-45 minutes. Request them in advance so you can best prepare and make good use of the time together. When the meeting starts don’t ask everyone how they are doing, because there is always one person with a story that will siphon time from the meeting.



6.Don’t let people Blabber. I have been guilty of this my entire working life. The people that come into your office that have no agenda and just blabber. Like Ralph Kramden called Alice’s mother, “YOU ARE A BLABBER MOUTH”. Have them get to the point of their visit or call. Don’t ask them what’s up or how is it going. No small talk. Tell them you are in the middle of something and you only have a minute or so.



7.Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customer.
There is no sure path to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone. You cannot make everyone happy. When you realize this, you will become more focused on the customers that generate you the most revenue. Which in turn will make your business more successful.

Do an 80/20 analysis of your customer base in two ways–which 20% are producing 80%+ of my profit, and which 20% are consuming 80%+ of my time? Then put the loudest and least productive on autopilot by citing a change in company policies. Send them an e-mail with new rules as bullet points: number of permissible phone calls, e-mail response time, minimum orders, etc. Offer to point them to another provider if they can’t conform to the new policies.
Believe me, it feels so liberating to fire a client (sorry, introduce them to another provider) because they are high maintenance, question every charge and don’t abide by the rules of engagement that you have agreed to.

8.Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize
If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. If you define the single most important task for each day, almost nothing seems urgent or important. Oftentimes, it’s just a matter of letting little bad things happen (return a phone call late and apologize, pay a small late fee, lose a pain in the ass customer, etc.) to get the big important things done. The answer to overwhelm is not to juggle by trying to do more. It’s defining the few things that can fundamentally change your business and life.
I hate being late to appointments, but every now and then I will be late on purpose just to show myself that the world didn’t come to an end and shit happens. Try it once and see how wonderful it feels.

9.Don’t keep employees that aren’t performing. Fire them right away. You are not doing yourself, your business or them any favors by prolonging the inevitable. I have been guilty of keeping employees on that weren’t performing. Saying a warm body is better than no body. WRONG. An employee that is not performing creates more work for the ones that are. I had an employee that was watching cartoons at his desk, then came to the meeting unprepared. I Should have fired him on the spot. Nope, I carried him on my shoulders for a couple more months. Which wasted both of our time. I guess the employee hand book didn’t specifically outline that watching cartoons was frowned upon by the company.

10.Don’t mix business with pleasure. This will always create havoc in your business as well as your personal life. Being a friend to your employees and co-workers is quite lethal in business. They think of you as a friend before a boss. You lose the respect that you need in order to run your business or managed your team. It’s ok to go out for a drink every now and then. But you need to draw the line, especially if you are a business owner or manager of a staff. You are the one in charge and need to make sure your employees and subordinates understand the hierarchy.

11.Work in not life. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should.
Your co-workers shouldn’t be your only friends. Schedule your life and defend it with all your passion., just as you would a business meeting. Never tell yourself “I’ll just get it done this weekend.”  I worked with someone for a couple of years and every week he would say that he would get it done over the weekend. Guess what? He never got it done over the weekend. Then the work would drag on for several weeks. Should have fired him on the spot.



Review Parkinson’s Law

  1. An observation in office organization: the number of subordinates increases at a fixed rate regardless of the amount of work produced.
  2. An observation in office organization: work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

You need to make sure your team works more efficiently, so your per-hour productivity doesn’t fall through the floor. Focus on getting things done in a specific time-frame.
E-mailing all weekend is no way to spend the little time you have on this planet.

Living with love, passion and gratitude are the best ingredients to living a fulfilled life.

If you have any questions or are interested in getting some more information. Please visit us at

–Richard Pryor
Author, Entrepreneur, Health, Wellness and Grief Coach
Warriors of Life. Unleash the inner warrior in YOU.