Keep a not-to-do list


Many people I know keep a running to-do list. But even those of us who pride ourselves on productivity can't get to everything on the list. It occurs to me that maybe we need to spend a little more time deciding what not to do. Something's gotta give, and when you take a good look at how you spend your time, you'll find some items to eliminate. I did this the other night. I found the experience eye-opening and also empowering.


Here's my not-to-do list.

  • Check email, text, Facebook, Instagram incessantly

  • Respond to every request I receive

  • Get pulled into other people's drama

  • Discuss politics

  • Criticize other people's handling of tasks unless it has a significant adverse effect on me or other people

  • Gossip

  • Spend time with people I don't like that much

  • Waste energy venting or getting frustrated about things I cannot change

  • Write down (or put into my Amazon cart) every product that sounds interesting

  • Make note of movies and shows I will never watch

  • Argue with my daughter about how many times she’s worn that sweatshirt since it was last washed

  • Read every article or book someone recommends to me or sends to me

  • Finish books that aren't resonating with me

  • Come to the "rescue" when people are capable of figuring things out on their own

  • Comparison shop extensively if I can afford the price and the savings won't be that great

  • Worry about what other people think of me


Peter Drucker is quoted as saying, "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."


What's on your not-to-do list?


Photo by Dana Marin on Unsplash

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"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."

    - Henry David Thoreau