Have you made your Not-To-Do List?


The satisfaction of checking off a task on an ever evolving To-Do-List is like sinking your teeth into a candy bar after fasting for a week! Ahhh, that taste of sweet success and feeling of swimming in accomplishment, that is until you see all the tasks you have yet to fulfill and just like that it’s like someone peed in your pool of accomplishment. Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we continue to allow yesterday’s or last month’s uncompleted tasks and goals to haunt us? Why do we only allow ourselves the tiniest taste of sweet success and then stew in a pee pool of disappointment and dissatisfaction over uncompleted tasks and goals? Are we gluttons for punishment or is the system flawed? 

From a young age many of us were taught the importance of making lists, setting goals, and then checking each off one by one as we accomplished them. But somewhere along the way the morning routine list of childhood, ya know the ones- brush teeth, wash face, etc. the simple tasks that we knew we had the skills, time, energy, and means to fulfill evolved into-go to the grocery store, work, run 5 miles, rearrange the kitchen, read a book, spend quality time with each family member, organize bills, clean car, do 5 loads laundry, remodel the kitchen, look ten years younger, accomplish world peace, etc. There’s only 24 hours in a day, somewhere along the way we lost our realistic/practical goal setting skills and turned those “To-Do-Lists” into wish lists, are we sending these to Santa? Because let’s be honest, the only way ALL those tasks and goals are getting completed is if the jolly guy himself along with all his elves took them on. Thus, the system must be flawed. So, basically, if we are beyond the age of 12, chances are our ability to complete a to-do list without it leading to self deprecation are slim, could the solution be a Not-To-Do list?

What’s a No-To-Do List? 

A not-to-do list is a handy tool to help you stay more focused on the important things in your life and career. Simply put, it’s a list of tasks you don’t do, no matter what. You delete them, delegate them, outsource them, or simply say no when they try to find their way on your to-do list. Source

How does it work?

Review your day, week, etc. and think about tasks you do throughout the day that might zap your productivity, that leave you feeling less motivated, that ultimately sabotage that to-do list.  Here’s a great free printable to help you collate your Not-to-do List.

Here’s  some items from my Not-To-Do List

  • Check email in the morning- it ends up consuming way too much time and totally zaps my motivation 
  • Feel guilty for going to bed early so I can get up early  
  • Give my valuable time and attention to those who are undeserving of it 
  • Check IM as they come across my phone- it interrupts what I’m doing and is ultimately a time management saboteur 
  • Looking at a screen when my children are speaking to me- talk about not giving your undivided attention 
  • Try to help adults who refuse to help themselves
  • Feel guilty for spending quality time with my family
  • Sign up or take on anything more  

What are your thoughts? Is the whole Not-to-do list a silly idea, waste of time? Is it a great way to try and stay on focus, practice good time management and productivity? Or is it just meh?

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