How to Start Executing on Your “Stop Doing” List

By Jen Moser, Office of Evangelization and Catechesis 

Statistics show that roughly 48% of Americans feel that they don’t have enough time in a day to do all the things they want to accomplish. And if you’re an organizational leader (paid or volunteer), it’s likely that you’re uniquely responsible and qualified to do certain things that others can’t simply by virtue of your experience, position, training, or vocation. This includes guiding others toward a preferred vision of the future and through the changes that entails.

With a little reflection, most of us can probably identify activities that don’t give as much return on investment as others. If you’re convinced that it’s time to create a “stop doing” list (click here to read about why you might need this), here are some principles for discernment and practical tips for how to begin.

  1. Begin with prayer.
    • What is the Lord inviting you to step away from? It’s not up to you to figure it out; it’s rather a matter of seeking and listening to what He desires for you and for those you serve. He cares intimately about everything that needs to be accomplished, and he desires to show you his plan for taking care of those things. Most of all, he wants you to know his closeness and care for you in the process.
  2. Seek wisdom from colleagues and advisers.
    • Who are trusted friends and mentors who might help you see aspects of the situation that you cannot (especially if your emotions are involved)? You may ultimately need to make the final call, but their support and advice can be invaluable to the process.
  3. Reflect on what you’re uniquely capable and called to do.
    • What aspects of your job are irreplaceable because of your role or vocation? (Distinguish those activities from non-essentials you continue to do because of others’ expectations and existing processes.)
    • What are your strengths and charisms? This matters because the Lord desires to see us flourish and wants to leverage our unique gifts in whatever leadership role we have.
  4. Call forth the gifts of others.
    • Who around you is capable and called to do these things? Again, prayerfully ask the Lord to show you who he is inviting into leadership. It may feel like there is no one, but we often don’t ask or give him the opportunity to provide.
  5. Look at the fruits.
    • Is it working? Are you moving forward by continuing to spend your time in this way?
    • Do you find joy & peace in this service? Are others growing deeper in union with Jesus through this activity?
  6. The desire for more has to be greater than the pain of changing.
    • Are you praying about the new things you want to prioritize? What are the exciting things you get to step into? Without allowing the Lord to expand our desires, we won’t be in touch with his desires to give us good and beautiful things.

If you’re ready to begin the process, here is a planning guide to get you started. When you heroically give up those things you should no longer be doing, you step into your unique calling and allow others to embrace theirs.

Jen Moser can be reached at

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