Creating a Not To-Do List for Better Productivity

We’re all familiar with what a to-do list is. And whoever uses it, knows the benefits of having all your tasks written down in advance, and then always knowing what’s left to get done.

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It’s a simple and yet powerful strategy to be productive and finish all the important things you want to.

But the problem comes when people start to include many more items in it than they should. Then this list – that was supposed to be short and to the point – gets bigger and bigger, and at some point you start avoiding even looking at it.

Also, we often lose focus, get distracted, start doing other things that only waste out time and get us nowhere.
That’s when it’s time for a not to-do list.

It’s the opposite of the to-do one, and as Tim Ferriss says:

“Not-to-do” lists are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance. The reason is simple: what you don’t do determines what you can do.

I’m sure there are things you find yourself doing without realizing, stuff that takes you hours but doesn’t really change anything, old procrastination habits, and so on.
Well, write all these down and be mindful of them.

Sit down and take some time to figure out what these activities are, and make a list for the next day. Then, look at it as often as you look at your to-do list.

The result?

You’ll get much more done, will feel proud of yourself, won’t be under the control of the time-wasting habits of our generation (like social media), will have more time for meaningful tasks, and will be more focused throughout the whole day.

What can you include in a not to-do list?

– checking email more than 2 times a day;
– using your phone in bed;
– getting up after 8 am;
– being late;
– watching TV;
– thinking about editing when writing;
– spending time with people that make you feel bad about yourself (here are 5 types to avoid);
– doing tasks someone else is supposed to do;
– eating sugar;
– drinking coffee on an empty stomach;
– trying to do more than one thing at a time;
– feeling upset about something you can’t change;
– drinking during the week;
etc.

You get the point.

Include all the things you want to stop doing, the stuff you feel is taking you nowhere, the annoying habits you have that you want to avoid.

Once you make such a list your mind will consider them something important than needs to get done. And it will be more conscious of these activities, in this case – its goal will be to avoid them no matter what.

So that’s a simple and easy technique, but which can be powerful beyond measure once you implement it and make it an important part of your days.

What would you include in such a list?

See also:

The Not-To-Do List: 9 habits to stop now
Why creating a not to-do list leads to innovation?
Say ‘no’ to these 5 things for an immediate life improvement
Six things to put on your to-not-do list
Do you have a not to-do list? (plus an example)

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Lidiya K

Lidiya K

Author, blogger and podcaster in the fields of self-improvement and life hacking. Creator of Let's Reach Success.
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
Lidiya K

14 Comments

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  1. Well this is interesting, and considering how I love list especially “To-do list” I’m curious to try this “Not to-do list” and see how it works out for me. I’m excited for the results. Thanks for sharing.

    Be A Blessing!

    LaTrice

  2. Great idea! I am a big list maker, but it’s always things I need to do but hardly ever seem to find the time to do. But I definitely do find time to waste – so I need to do the “not to-do” list. I’m excited to see the results!

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