The "To Don't" List Streamline Your Life

Work + Money

Kathy Korman Frey, Founder, Hot Mommas Project

By Kathy Korman Frey

Kathy Korman Frey, entrepreneur in residence at George Washington University School of Business and founder of, writes the fourth in a series of posts on work-life issues. Who has mastered this balancing act so critical for quality of life, and how?

A recent copy of Real Simple magazine states the following: “17 minutes. The average time it takes a person to transition from one activity to another.” Well, there goes the argument for multitasking. So how do successful women herd the cats while achieving the grandiose goals in their lives? Five successful women recently shared their secrets during a women’s leadership panel at the George Washington School of Business in Washington, DC.

Here are 5 tips and 5 must-dos from women who’ve been there and done it….and NOT done it:



Shana Glickfield runs a blog for a major national broadband company.

Shana’s tip:
Try not to suffer from “FOMO” – fear of missing out. When you’re driven, and involved in the social media world, this is a constant battle. Set limits that work for you and your life, and work around them. Don’t let them work you around!

Must do: Read Never Eat Alone, which advises readers to combine meals with meetings.





Susan Matthews Apgood is the founder of NewsGeneration, one of the largest radio PR firms in the U.S., and a founding member of the Boss Ladies networking group. Plus – she’s a mother of three.

Susan’s tip: Sticking to a business plan is key to helping you remember what is truly important even in the midst of fires that come up every day.

Must do: Drop bad clients who take time and energy away from what is most important – other clients, you, your family or other priorities.





Anna Birch, owner and founder of Adventure Links, runs executive retreats and leadership summits. She and her husband live in the Blue Ridge Mountains with their two daughters.

Anna’s tip:
Set up boundaries to prevent yourself from getting pulled into the “yes” situations. When you’re successful, you’ll also be in demand. I have people who work for me who canbe my front people in certain situations, so I can stay back and focus.

Must do: Ask yourself - “What am I cluttering myself with that is preventing me from moving forward?”





Ellice Perez is GM of Zipcars, DC.  Previously she was Managing Director at CakeLove and worked in international development at Chemonics International.

Ellice’s tip: Write it all down and execute it! Only the things on the list. Deadlines are key.

Must do: Delegate! Get help. Actually practice delegating. You can’t do it all yourself.






Toni Townes-Whitley is VP & managing partner for Global Public Sector Unisys where she co-founded the Women in Leadership Program and Leadership Excellence Acceleration Program. She’s also president of Women in Technology & lives in Virginia with her husband John and five children.

Toni’s tip: When someone asks me to do something, I ask "when?" The calendar serves as the "bad cop." When I’ve mentioned this on panels, people circle back with me and say, “Hey, this works!”

Must do:
Self care. “Get your oxygen mask on first, then you can face it all.”




Notice something interesting? Not only do these women have methodologies for getting things done, they have systemized things they DON’T do.  Here are some tips & tools:

Focus: Take the time to decide what is most important for you. Develop simple processes you can stick to (lists, a business plan.) Time management experts suggest writing down your major tasks for the day and then tackle the hardest tasks first thing in the morning before you get distracted. Also write down your priorities and look at the list several times throughout the day.

Set Boundaries: Stop saying “yes.” Are you driving yourself further into the vortex of chaos, fuzzy priorities, and that stretched-thin feeling? “Yessing” yourself into too many things will only lower your self-confidence, one of the most important aspects of effective leadership in business and life.

Help: Visualize the “one woman band” holding the drum, cymbals on her feet, and a harmonica in her mouth. Let’s stop being that person. Get others to help you by delegating – whether it’s asking a neighbor for help or managing a staff of hundreds.  Effective delegation is a major factor in what separates the executives from the employee. What is ONE thing that you could ask for help with?

Now, moving forward, what will and won’t YOU do after reading this?

More from Kathy Korman Frey on Work-Life Issues:

Self-Confidence: The Essential Tool for Life Balance

Making Time to Live Your Dream

Declutter Your Life: Secrets of a Prioritizer

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  • I love getting tips like these from successful women. As I sit this morning trying to organize my day, the tips about setting priorities and delegating were a wake up call. Thanks!

    Posted by, 17 June 2010.

  • What an inspirational article. I loved the what "NOT" to do tips.
    Keep up the great work Kathy Korman Frey--I truly admire all you do.

    Posted by jogeraci, 27 May 2010.