Reading Length: 3 minutes
According to research from IDoneThis, 41% of all to-do lists are never completed. If that’s the case, why do people continue to overload their to-do list and let it sit there collecting dust? The problems with a to-do list are that:
- It’s easy to add onto it and neglect it.
- It does not help differentiate between a high value and low value task.
- It can lead to stress due to the overwhelming number of tasks.
On the other hand, a not to-do list can help you become more conscious of the tasks and habits you would like to stop doing which are not adding any value to your life. It can promote more discipline, willpower, and better time management skills. By refusing to give into the low value tasks and habits, you are allowing yourself to prioritize and be more intentional with your limited time.
How to Create a Not To-Do List
From Maxim Dsouza, blogger on Productive Club, here are ways to create a not to-do list.
- Step 1: List down the most obvious bad behaviors to stop
- Step 2: Take some time to think what are the bad behaviors you can drop
- Step 3: Try to identify some of the bad behavior you are not aware of. Asking a loved one such as your spouse, siblings or best friend helps.
Here are some templates to help you get started with a not to-do list:
- Do not ___________ which consumes ______ of my time
- Do not ___________ so that
- Do not ___________ so that I can ___________
The Not To-Do List
According to Tim Ferris, author of “The Four Hour Work Week,” here are 9 common habits to stop:
- 1. Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers.
- 2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
- 3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time.
- 4. Do not let people ramble.
- 5. Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only.
- 6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers.
- 7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize.
- 8. Do not carry a smartphone 24/7.
- 9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should.
Here is an example of my own not to-do list:
My Personal Experience
I came to realize that I had a bad habit of piling up all my dishes in the sink after finishing a meal. This caused a horrible stench in the kitchen and my mother’s annoyance. She eventually spoke to me about the importance of doing basic household chores and I began to see my problem.
I decided to start off with prioritizing the dishes in my list. I started off with setting a notification reminder 3 times a day after breakfast, lunch and dinner. Notice that I put “I do not neglect dishes after finishing my meals” first on my list. The fact that this bad habit itself was on my list already served as a constant reminder to me to get the dishes done.
Leave a comment: What are some habits and tasks you want to add on your not to-do list?
Check out this video I made on “The Not To-Do List.” Please like and subscribe!