The Importance of a “Not to do List”
You need to have one
Usually, people praise the importance of having a to-do list.
They explain how it helps you stay organized and how it helps you achieve your goals and do more than you ever thought you could.
What you’re reading is not about having a to-do list. It’s all about having a not-to-do list.
What Is It?
As the title would suggest, it’s having a list of things you need to avoid. It’s activities that tend to distract you and make you lose focus on what matters.
It’s making a conscious effort to stay far away from meaningless, non-productive activities. You likely have three or four that you can think of right now that you do every day.
Why Does It Matter?
It matters because while what you do plays a big part in your success, what you don’t do matters even more.
We all have countless distractions around us every day. We carry limitless distractions in our pockets. We take this focus-killing device with us everywhere we go.
Spending 10 minutes scrolling through social media isn’t the end of the world. When you do it for 10 minutes for every hour you’re awake, that’s when it’s a problem.
It’s a problem when watching “just” one more episode on Netlfix turns into a full-on binge three hours later.
Again, all these little distractions add up. Compile it over weeks, months, or years, and you have wasted a good portion of your life.
A not-to-do list can help.
How to make a not-to-do list
- Take the time to analyze what you do daily. Habits define who we are. You need to have good habits.
- Once you have your actions laid out, it’s time to cut bad habits out. When you get home do you grab the remote right away? Do you wake up and drink an energy drink that dehydrates you? You know what you shouldn’t be doing. Eliminate what isn’t helping.
- Set the standard that you will not participate in anything on your not-to-do list. If Instagram is on there, that means not opening the app at all. Stick to the list.
Boom. You now have a plan that will benefit you immensely.
Tips to make sure you succeed
Limiting the list to five or 10 items will keep things simple. You don’t want to add too much to the list. You’re not a robot after all. Adding too much will only leave you feeling overwhelmed.
Start slow. Your first item could be as easy as not answering calls from numbers you don’t know. You might already be doing this. Even better. Or it could be to never leave a dish in the sink when going to bed.
One of my personal favorites is not talking poorly of other people. It keeps me away from the usual workplace drama. It also helps me to focus only on myself and what I can do to be better.
Keep your not-to-do list in a place that’s easy for you to reach. I have mine in my notes section on my phone. That way it’s always with me.
Follow the steps above and enjoy your newfound extra time. you’ll be able to accomplish a lot more with the same amount of time.