Everyone knows the importance of To-Do lists for keeping themselves on track and ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. Often lost in the shadow of the powerful To-Do List is the less recognized but also important To-Don’t List.
You may not have heard of the To-Don’t List so let us explain. It’s a list of things you don’t want to do everyday. Things that hold you back, that drain your energy and productivity. That waste your time.
Here’s a quick overview of why a To-Don’t List can help you Avoid Time-Wasting or Repetitive Tasks from Lifehacker
Not only will creating a To-Don’t List help you remember all the things that hold you back, it will also help you clarify the things you want to add to your daily To-Do List.
Same as a To-Do list, your To-Don’t list needs to be personalized to your lifestyle and habits. Unlike a To-Do list that will probably change daily, a To-Don’t list is normally updated much less frequently, because of instead of being a list of specific things you need to do everyday, it’s more like a general list of things you don’t want to do everyday. So it will likely only get revised when you realize there’s something else that needs to be added to it.
Once you’ve got the To-Don’t List that works for you, post it where you can see it everyday.
Here are a few examples of things on our To-Don’t List:
Don’t stop what you’re doing every time an email comes through
Emails are like buses. They come through all day long and there’s always another one coming. Some of them are important, some less important and some are out and out time wasters.
No matter which category a specific email falls into, when you stop what you’re doing to attend to it you’re breaking the flow of whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. Your concentration gets broken, you start thinking about other things and it takes time to get yourself back in the right mindset to finish what you were working on – and then another email shows up. Better to let the emails line up at the bus terminal and finish what you’re working on before taking a ride.
Don’t always fall back on what’s worked before
Learning shortcuts for doing things is great. But sometimes doing things the way you’ve always done them doesn’t give you the opportunity to come up with new, better ways of doing things. Pay close enough attention to what you’re doing to recognize when it’s time to try a different approach.
Don’t put off till tomorrow
“How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” Just because we don’t like doing something doesn’t make it any less important. Instead of putting off things we don’t want to do or are afraid to do, it’s better to simply deal with them as they come up. Today.
Don’t dwell on the past
The past is full of positives and negatives. Dwelling on the past steals focus away from the present. Learn from it and then move on.
Don’t let yourself get dragged down by negative people
Negative people can drain your energy, and send you into your own negative feedback loop. Stay vigilant with your attitude. Recognize when you’re being influenced by someone else’s negativity and push the re-set button.
Not sure how to go about creating your To-Don’t List? Here are some suggestions from Allen Gannett in TNW News. The To-Don’t List: Things you will NOT do
Now it’s your turn. What’s on your To-Don’t List? Where are you going to put it so you’ll see it everyday?