A Not To-Do List for Ad Agency New Business

Not To Do List Michael Gass

If you want to have a productive new business program, you must decide what you are not going to do.

Most everyone has a “To-Do List.”  But it can be helpful to periodically create a “Not To-Do List.” Simply make an assessment of all of the non-productive things you are currently doing that need to be eliminated.

“Deciding what not to do can be crucial to getting things done.”

Here are some things that I have found helpful creating my own Not-To-Do List:

  1. Review the previous year’s calendar of activities and evaluate which of your activities produced the best results for new business and which didn’t. I’d suggest making a list of your activities and create a ranking system.
  2. Create a list of agency activities you are involved in that have nothing to do with new business.
  3. Evaluate your current To Do List. Ask yourself this question, “Are these tasks going to produce the best results for my time  and energy and help in my position of generating new business opportunities for the agency?” Make note of tasks that you deem to be less productive.
  4. You should then have enough information to begin to add to your “Not To-Do List.”

It would be important to review and discuss your Not To-Do List with the agency principal(s). Everyone has a limited amount of time and energy and hopefully your boss will see the value in making the most of your time.  For instance, it may not be the best use of your time to be involved in meetings that are not directly related to the agency’s new business.

 Items on my “Not-To Do List” for the new year:

  • Don’t make my own travel arrangements. I waste far to much important time doing this on my own.
  • Don’t obligate myself to review the blogs of other bloggers. I constantly get requests from others to review and provide input on their site. While I was happy to do this in the beginning there are just to more requests than I can handle. Plus its a part of my services that clients are paying for.
  • Don’t read and respond to emails throughout the day. I strive to keep my Inbox clean. I’ve had the habit of reading and responding as emails are received but it has become a huge disruption to my focus. I hope to be responding to emails at set periods where I can respond to these in blocks of time.
  • Don’t accept “pick my brain” phone calls. Almost daily I’m getting requests for these type calls. I’m reserving my time for paying clients instead of giving my services away for free.
  • Don’t schedule appointments with vendors wanting to pitch their products. Most of these type pitches are for products and services that are totally unrelated to my audience. If it is related I have vendors to email a “brief” overview.
  • Don’t accept writing invitations for guest posts on other blogs. Creating content for my own blog is difficult enough without adding to additional writing assignments to it and most of these requests are from blogs that are not specifically related to my audience.
  • Don’t personally respond to every blogger wanting to submit a guest post – automate responses. I have created email templates to auto respond to these type requests.
  • Don’t accept all phone calls from unrecognized numbers. Its by far better to let these calls go to voice mail and review.
  • Don’t repeat the same instructions over and over – create tutorials. I want to do a better job of creating video and written tutorials to help clients and others with specific instructions on using various tools that I help clients with such as TweetAdder, SocialOomph, WordPress.com, etc. There are specific ways these tools need to be used for new business. I also provide the same kind of instruction for things such as how to write a blog post or how to embed video into a WordPress blog and need to be better at taking the time to create tutorials for these tasks as well. I will ultimately save lots of time.
  • Don’t watch TV programs during the week.I’ve read more books this past year than ever and I want to increase my reading and view less television. Reading fuels my writing.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. I’m not much of a breakfast eater and tend to skip it. But I know its important and plan to do better.

These are the additions to my Not To-Do List for the new year. Have a Not To-Do List of your own? Feel free to share it in the comment section below.

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photo credit: jking89 via photo pin cc

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.


  1. My friend has a business and is trying to reform it, ill be sure to pass this on to him.

  2. The no TV point is spot-on. I got rid of my TV when moving to the states and have never missed it. Not once.

    There are shows I like, say, Curbed, I’ll get the whole series on itunes and enjoy a binge session at the weekend. It’s a real treat.

    Good post,


  3. Thanks for sharing Floyd. Good idea on getting an entire series on iTunes. I’m committed to do spending much more time apart from the TV. I’d like to double my reading time this coming year.

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