Feeling overwhelmed by your To Do list – Try having a Not Do list

I came across this idea today and as it is counter intuitive it immediately appealed to me!  And so I thought I should share it for those who have a constant dread of getting out of bed in the morning because the to-do list is so long and just keeps getting longer. Apart from having so many things to do, yet not enough time to do them, there is all the you also get the pain and anguish caused by not getting though the To Do list.  It is not good to feel stretched too thin, overworked, and dissatisfied.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with a to-do list but it can often act as a block to what we really should be focusing on and that is productivity—doing more in less time.

As Greg McKeown argues in his excellent book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Doing Less, focusing on productivity—doing more in less time—without first deciding what is essential is a prescription for suffering.

Greg McKeown defines essentialism as:

“… a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.”

It’s not about getting more done in a shorter period. It’s about getting only the right things done.

With this in mind, one tool you might find helpful is creating a “not do” list. Instead of listing all of the things you have to do (with hopefully a priority rating and completion date/time), as you would in a  normal “to do” list, you instead list the things that you’d rather not do at all. Then you start finding ways not to do those things.

For example, maybe you really dislike grocery shopping and feel frustrated by how much time you spend doing it. You could sign up for supermarket delivery to  your home, which would dramatically reduce the time you spend doing it. Ditto getting a house cleaner, dog walker, car washer or anything else you consider a chore which someone else could call to your home and do for you – even if just temporarily while you get on top of things.

Or maybe you’re participating in an activity at work or in your personal life because you think you “should,” but it is not a “must”. This is something you could let go of to free up more tim

So why not create your Not Do list then update it  on a monthly basis to help determine what you need to say no to and where you need to cut back.