Have a ‘NOT To-Do List’

Most of us have some kind of ‘to-do’ list. Whether it’s on a piece of paper, in our calendar system, a Mind Map, on an app, or a list in a notebook. Most of us find that the list can grow on a daily basis, and often, that the thing is longer at the end of a day than it was at the start. The list becomes a stick to beat ourselves up with. Recipe for overwhelm.

However, it’s also true for many of us that we’re not really, honestly aware of where our time actually goes. We have a tendency to think and say one thing but actually do another. See my blog post on ‘What are your priorities – really?’. That lack of awareness can lead to us blindly adding stuff to the list, and not thinking about what might come off it.

So try this: create your NOT to-do list.

List out all those things that you won’t be spending time on.  Today, this week, any more, or indeed ever again.  What can you stop doing?  Here are some thought-starters:

  • I will not check my emails in bed
  • I will stop checking my smartphone when I’m talking to friends and family
  • I won’t spend lunchtime today checking social media updates/looking at cat videos
  • I will not do the review/report (that my colleague is perfectly capable of learning to do)
  • I won’t hit snooze a second time
  • I will stop checking my emails the second they hit my inbox

To help you stay on track, share your NOT to-do list with someone – a friend, colleague, loved one.  Discuss it, negotiate it if need be, and agree it.  Then write the thing up and keep it where you can see it.

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