To-do or to-NOT-do list?

not-do-list-940x380Conventional wisdom says: “If you want to be productive, create a to-do list and stick to it”.

However, ”monitoring” the effectiveness of my to-do list at one point in my life, I found out it doesn’t work against daily distractions. I thought: OK, I know what to do, but is it enough to channel my energy to achieving my goals? This is when I shifted to an alternative approach – the to-NOT-do list- suggested by my favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Inspired with her insight, I outlined my to-NOT-do list. Honestly, I haven’t reached 100%-performance milestone yet (sometimes I can’t resist commenting on a provoking Facebook post or admiring a photo of a cute kitten :)). But I believe sticking to this approach is a way to enhance productivity. So, here’s my updated to-NOT-do list:

  1. Do not check e-mail or social media accounts constantly. I pick 3 times a day – morning, lunchtime and around 6- for  responding to emails and chatting or commenting on Facebook. If you still can’t resist the temptation, try Google Chrome’s Stay Focused extension which will automatically curb your time spent on social networks.
  1. Do not lavish your time on contacts with manipulative or high maintenance people. Want it or not, you can’t make everyone happy, especially these tough types. Unfollow them on Facebook as well as in real life. (I’ve already written on how to avoid and protect yourself against such emotional vampires in my previous post).
  2. A girlish one. Do not overuse mirror during the day. Do your best to look your best in the morning and then relax. That new microscopic wrinkle on your forehead will not disappear, but the thought of it will swirl in your mind and distract from your big goal. Light-heartedness is sexier than perfect features or professional makeup.
  1. Do not read tabloid or overly negative content, especially in the morning. You’ll not be able to prevent another ISIS terrorist attack or save quake victims but instead will have your mood ruined for the rest of the day. What I do is just skim BBC or CNN headlines in the afternoon without going into details.
  1. Finally, the abstract and hardest to-NOT-do. Do not expect immediate results. Either from using these tips or pursuing your goals in general. This is the first thing I remind myself while working on my goals (patience is not my strongest feature, I confess). I repeat Jim Rohn’s words whenever I rush to get results : “How long should you try? Until”.

While reading this entry, you perhaps thought of your own to-NOT-do list. Do some soul-searching and unveil those time and energy-killers. Write them down on a to-NOT-do list and remove them from your life:) Good luck, and stay committed to your goals.




One thought on “To-do or to-NOT-do list?

  1. Pingback: 5 insights on what to start this spring | Siri's Room

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