To-do lists are extremely popular and it’s easy to see why. You list all the items that you need to complete on a device or on a paper, preferably in order of importance and then cross them off as you go. When completed, you can feel a real sense of accomplishment. Most people have used to-do lists at some point of their lives and I am no different. Planning my day helps me know how and where to channelize my energy and efforts. To-do lists are simple, easy and powerful. They can be useful tool in helping people organise their day – but there is a catch.

As a mother, wife, blogger and HR professional, I have a somewhat busy schedule. So, as you can imagine, organisation and planning play major roles in my daily routine.

I have always been a to do list writer, to-do lists have helped me in various ways over the years, but I haven’t always used to-do lists effectively. An example, would be when I am a tad bit over-ambitious with my time and energy and add an obscene amount of items onto my list;  effectively making the chance of completing the list near enough impossible which can be demotivating to say the least. Finishing the day with only two of my twenty items completed is definitely a mood killer!

I am not the only one who has had mishaps with a to do-list, often, to-do lists gives you more items than you can reasonably – or unreasonably – get done. This can result in decreased morale and productivity. So what is the solution to this dilemma?

Enter the not-to-do lists

I have been using not-to-do lists for a while now. I first came across the idea in an article published on the Business Insider website. The article discussed William Buffet’s journey to success – spoiler -William Buffet happens to be a devoted user of the not-to-do list. The idea is to list all the activities you are intentionally going to stop doing for the sake of greater productivity.

People are finite resources. To put it simply. I only have so much energy and time – no matter how much I try or how good I am at something. Therefore, for the sake of my sanity, I have to periodically decide what I am NOT going to do.

My not to do list has taken my productivity to the next level.

Here are my 5 things that I have decided not to do:-

  1. Be on my phone all day

Thanks to good ol’ technology, most of us have become completely addicted to our phones. If you’re anything like how I was, the sheer act of going a whole day without a phone was the easiest way to go straight to panic mode. However, being on your phone all day can lead to a number of negative side effects from eye strain, wrist sprains, sleep deprivation and anxiety. Hence why it was featured in my list.

2. Trying to get things perfect the first time round

I have an inner perfectionist in me. My inner perfectionist is meticulous, analytical and methodical. While that all sounds lovely; not only does perfection take a large amount of time to achieve – if it is at all attainable – but it can also be very off putting. Have you ever received an email or text – and not responded – not because you didn’t want to, but because you simply couldn’t find the right words to say. That is your inner perfectionist speaking. For me, perfectionism has also been a huge contributor to procrastination. It’s no wonder it made it to my list.

3. Checking or replying to emails and texts instantly

This carries on from point two; I have an inner perfectionist in me, so when I receive an email or text I often spend long period of time pondering over a reply. I now schedule a time of the day that I reply to emails and texts. I have found that it frees up my time to complete other tasks.

4. Let my past dictate my future

“Mistakes are valuable, learn from them and then let them go” much easier said then done right? Not exactly, it’s really all about perspective. When something goes wrong, it is an opportunity to learn something you didn’t know – especially about yourself.

5. Say Yes when I want to say No

The look of disappointment is heart wrenching. For this reason, refusing a request from my family, friends and co workers was especially difficult. But I can’t do everything! Nor should I! I have learned that success is often based on the things you decide to not to do. Simply because, what you don’t do determines what you can do.

So there ends my not-to-do list

I hope you enjoyed reading

Until next time

What other no-no’s would you add to your list?




5 thoughts on “The Not-to-do List – 5 Things to stop doing

  1. That’s a great idea, i’ve never thought of doing a not-to-do list!

    I’m not sure at the moment what I would add, but number 5 is something I have been semi-doing during the last year. It is hard saying ‘no’ face to face. It’s easier on text/email/whatsapp etc. By saying ‘no’ it’s raised a few questions within myself in regards to how I view some friendships.

    But in general, people pleasing at the cost of your own happiness should always be evaluated.


    1. Hi! Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I really appreciate it. I definitely agree that setting personal boundaries and learning to ‘no’ without guilt can change the way you view your relationships/friendships. Very often, it allows us to distinguish between the friendships that are genuine v the ones that only exist through obligation/ our ‘self sacrificing’ tendencies. People pleasing can be extremely unhealthy pattern of behaviour especially if it is at the cost of one’s own happiness. I just finished reading a book called Essentialism by Greg McKewon, which discusses people pleasing behaviour, might be worth a read. Thank you again for reading and commenting. Much appreciated

      Liked by 1 person

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