Find Your 5


I interviewed renowned psychiatrist Ned Hallowell recently; he  specializes in Attention Deficit Disorder and wrote the book Delivered from Distraction.

He agreed that our overscheduled, overstimulated and overwhelmed culture is conditioning us to become more and more ADD.

As achievers we are especially susceptible to this as we usually become victim of our own ambition and enthusiasm.

I think many of us actually thrive on being busy… to our own detriment.

We want to “feel” like we are high in demand and being productive. But many times it is being busy to be busy, so we run out of time to actually do the difficult or scary work needed to really move the needle on our results and goals.

So here is a challenge I continually take on myself that I now offer to you…

Find your 5

  • There

    are probably five things you have done over the past three days that you

    probably shouldn’t have.

  • Now look forward and find five things you are committed to that you probably shouldn’t be.

Start identifying those things that are causing you to be busy at the sacrifice of being productive.

Find your five things that you will vow to stop doing. Either delegate or delete

them permanently from your task list.

Make this on ongoing challenge for you—to weed your calendar more and more of the tasks, obligations and commitments you should not be allocating your precious time and creative ability toward… 5 items at a time.

What 5 things are you going to delete. Identify them and share you comments below.




15 responses to “Find Your 5”

  1. thanx for this post: in just a few sentences it helps to focus and re-turn to the important topics.
    I think it’s very important to also teach techniques like these to young people! I will recommend your blog to my students.
    Danke schön from Germany! Kira Klenke

  2. @Simon Smith, I have to say I’m much more focussed now since working with you Simon. My busy is now very focussed busy with a clear eye on what I’m trying to achieve by doing that task.

    Saying that, things to stop :

    1. getting distracted on the internet when I specifically go on there to do something
    2. looking for paperwork to do something and going off course when I see something else which needs done
    3. working too late every night and then being very tired all week
    4. offering help when I don’t have the time
    5. letting overwhelm create ADD

    Things to do :

    1. only agree to what I have time to do
    2. mange expectations for delivery
    3. schedule follow up time after each meeting
    4. diary all activities so that overwhelm doesn’t kick in
    5. take some chill out time :)

  3. Great article!

    My 5 to stop (from last 5 days):
    1. Visiting Twitter, Facebook and associated links at unscheduled times of the day
    2. Allowing my email inbox to fill up beyond my (internal) manageable level
    3. Saying yes when I should be saying no
    4. Putting potentially difficult phone calls off until “later”
    5. Not having enough time for thinking

    My 5 to START:
    1. Schedule writing time in my calendar
    2. Plan my writing topics for each quarter
    3. Complete my social media plan and then schedule it
    4. Only “surf” on social media during inactive times (on the phone rather than at my desk so it doesn’t interfere with “primary purpose” activity)
    5. Say no.

  4. Well!
    Understanding and applying is not tough but to start is the main problem.
    – checking mail and computer in the early morning
    – not getting ready for morning walk and yoga and 1 hr golf
    – not reaching office at time
    – not able to manage the jobwork work (business) in well managed manner from the exhisting workforce
    -Most of the time not useful social meet and tel talk
    and so on , what to do, really an alarming situation, need to be counseled properly.

  5. @Jeri Uylaki, Thanks Jeri. I had to look twice to see if I wrote it. Sounds too much like me. I need to turn my analyzing into effective focused activity.

  6. Wow , Do I resemble this article ! I have learned so much from Ned Hallowell’s books over the years and I always seem to think that when I consume the information I’m just gonna know how to do things better automatically . I have a severe case of ADD & am Super Intuitive which is not common . In reality its a daily – mindful task . Thanks for sharing this Darren perfect timing for me !!

    1. Stop over analyzing and just do the job !!
    2.Stop taking so long to get out of the house and start my day !!…If I dont get out early even if I’m working on stuff at home “action Items & face to face contact ” items get put off til the next day.
    3.Stop letting BUSY work consume my day- I am going to start scheduling “busy work” so I will only have ,say one hour everyday to sift through that pile of paperwork because its on my list everyday & I avoid it like the plague ! ….I may even say …hmmmm let me get this wall painted first !! lol …it’s sad but at least I have a sense of humor about it .
    4. Stop making commitments that are not important to me .
    5 .Stop putting everyone else’s important stuff before my own.
    Thanks again Darren , I’ve been reading Success for years and love it !!

  7. Great post Darren, you nailed it… and my day. On a good day I focus on accomplishing 5 tasks that move me towards my goals. After that is when I need to find my five.

  8. Brilliant article–thanks because i need to review constantly to keep on track.
    Here are my 5
    Putting off what I need to do vs busy work
    Not acting because I don’t have it “perfect” yet (procrastination)
    Looking at social media and email outside of designated times
    not talking enough
    not sharing enough

    Creating and acting within “power hours” are a great way to keep focused.

  9. Hmmm, this one is actual kind of hard for me.. I’m sure there are sooooo many things that I’m doing that I should not be doing, I read others post and some of them apply to me.. I’m a stay at home mom, and I have my own home based buisness..I can think of tons of things I have to get done, but an sturggling how to figure out what to cut out..any suggestions..and yes how often should this be done??once we have mastered not doing the first 5??, thank you.. Great article by the way :)

  10. What 5 things are you going to delete:
    1) Stop checking email first thing in the morning before I exercise and get to the office / arrive by 8:30 AM to support our team.
    2) Stop drinking so much coffee and reduce to one cup per morning / increase water in take.
    3) Stop spending more than 10 minutes per day on social media.
    4) Stop working straight through the day and find 15 minutes mid-day for a walk in the sun to refresh myself.
    5) Stop bidding construction contracts with no margin. The value is there for our services and we deserve a profit.

    Excellent exercise. Thanks Darren!

    Best regards,

  11. This hurts, I can think of 2 x 5 things…..
    I will dive into this.

    Thanks Darren for wake up call.

  12. Five things: 1. Quit overanalyzing..just do the job 2. Give the attention to the one who is really serious and quit wasting my time on those that are lazy and just want to chat. 3. Quit putting off day to day chores and get them done first thing in the morning 4. Stop procrastinating on getting out the door to begin the day in the outside world. 5. Stop being a critic of myself because of my own insecurities.

    Thank you Darren….once again!