Why You Should Create A Not To Do List

Do you have trouble setting the right priorities? Fear not, with a not-to-do list setting priorities become a lot easier.

Why should I create a not-to-do list?

It’s simple,  a “not-do-do” list can help you become more effective. How is that? What you don’t do determines what you can do. By creating a not-to-do list you force yourself to eliminate trivial, non-essential work.

What should a not-to-do list look like?

There are a couple of common habits and items that should be on everyone’s “not-to-do” list. Among others you should try to avoid:

  • Answering phone calls from unrecognized or anonymous phone numbers
  • Never check e-mail throughout the day (checking twice or thrice daily is enough)
  • Never attend a meeting without an agenda

These three items alone can save you serious time. One other thing to keep in mind is the effects of being effective versus being efficient. Doing an unimportant task well, does not make it important. Sometimes the best and only way to maintain focus is not getting more done, it’s eliminating distractions and non-essential tasks. In this way you pave the way for the most important tasks, so they can be completed.

Using a not to-do list to set priorities

Since our days are packed with work and we face a barrage of new tasks each day, setting priorities can be tough. Sometimes we would rather do some “busy work”, so we feel productive. But 9 out of 10 times busy work is just procrastination in disguise.

If you are having trouble deciding what you should do, start focussing on “not doing”. What are the things you should definitely not do? If you think long and hard enough, you should have eliminated a large amount of tasks. What is not on your not-to-do list can be put on your to-do list.

But before these tasks are on your to-do list ask yourself: Does this item help me achieve more? If I complete it, will it have a synergetic effect and make more items more easy or does it eliminate other items?

Saying “no” to some things means you can say “yes” to others.

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