Much like how our to-do list is a reminder of what we need to get done daily, a to-don’t list is a list of things we do that we’d like to let go of. Our to-don’t list allows us to reflect on what we’d like to change and reminds us to make those adjustments. It can include things that don’t add value to our day and we wish to stop entirely. It could also be things that do add value that we’d like to ask for help with. 

Even if we aren’t making those changes in the moment, we’re jotting them down for a later time when we can visit them and make and action plan.

1. Changing or Eliminating To-Don’ts

You can do whatever works for you of course. I designed my own day planner to have a monthly to-don’t list. That way I’m jotting down items that come to mind monthly. As a result, if I haven’t already addressed them during the month, the list will be there as a reminder for next month.

For example. You might find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your social media news feed. You realize it’s the third time that day you’ve done that for ten minutes. That’s a half hour! You write it down in your to-don’t list – “stop mindlessly scrolling of social media. It’s a waste of time.” By the end of the month if you haven’t addressed this yet, make it a goal for next. For instance, check in on your newsfeed once in the evening when you have time, or even less depending on how much you want to reduce your screen time. 

Some other examples might include:

  • Avoid listening to gossip. It isn’t helpful to anyone
  • Don’t say yes to be nice. Unless it genuinely works for me, I end up giving half-arsed help
  • Stop beating around the bush. Because others can’t guess what you want – tell them

 

2. Getting Help with Your To-Don’ts

On the other hand, you might be doing tasks that are too difficult for you, you simply don’t have time for, or you’re just plain sick of. 

If it’s work/business related you could use your to-don’t list as sort of a wish list of tasks you would delegate to someone if you were able to make a hire or outsource to a freelancer. Not only will it help you to decide or make your case when it’s time, but it will also help you create a better job description, and ensure you have enough work to make it worth the employee or freelancer’s while. 

If it’s not work-related, maybe there are things you can ask your spouse or a family member to take on. Maybe there’s a task or two a friend, or neighbour can help you get off your list if it’s not too much of an ask.

Also if you’re a parent, your to-don’t list might help you decide on some chores your children can help with.

Some examples here are:

  • Ask for help with email marketing. It takes me a while since I’m not an expert
  • Ask for help with meal planning. I’d like opinions before not after the meal
  • Ask for help putting away the dishes. It’s not a complex chore, but I’d like some extra time to relax after dinner

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Conclusion

While you won’t be able to let go of every task you dread, keeping a to-don’t list will certainly help you reduce some of the things that don’t add value so you can fill that time with things that do.

Why not give it a try? Mine is a simple list I keep in the back of my monthly sections of my journal. That way I know where it is. If you need some help getting started with your monthly journal, I have a printable version available on Etsy.

Thanks for reading!