To Not Do List

Darryl Bachmeier
Jul 2, 2020

Our lives are full of messes. These messes are the ultimate result of our bad decisions. We often say yes rather than no to some things and suffer the consequences. No matter how hard we try, these things find their way into our lives, and we mistakenly accept them. We are talking about small, unnecessary work and events that get into our path of achieving something huge. The consequences of these things affect both our personal and professional life. That is why it is important for us to be prepared to say no to these things. A “To Not Do List” can help you to deal with them. Moreover, it can help you stay focused on your goals and save you from unnecessary distractions.

If you observe carefully, you will find that most of the successful people have a “to not do list.” It helped them avoid all of the unnecessary and harmful things in their lives and achieve success.

What is a To Not Do List?

In simple words, a to not do list is a list of tasks you decided never to perform, no matter what the situation is. It could be a set of bad habits or a list of unproductive activities. In professional life, a to not do list basically tells you to ignore small projects that come as a barrier to the bigger ones. You either ignore them or make others do it by outsourcing the tasks.

It works like a tool to help you stay focused on your goals and prevents distractions. It has other beneficial applications as well. For example, it can help you in differentiating urgent and normal tasks, low value and high-value tasks, etc.

Aside from these benefits, its main purpose is to help maintain self-discipline. You can make use of it in your personal life. Simply list all of your bad habits and the things you want to avoid. Try to maintain it by not doing them.

How Can a To Do Not List Help You?

A to do list has effects on both personal and professional life. It turns out that a to do not list has the same importance as a to do list.

One of the major ways a to not do list can help you is that it saves you from distraction. It also eliminates unnecessary tasks in your daily life. As a result, you will have more time and energy to spare and dedicate it towards the important tasks. Moreover, you can use these times in socializing with your colleagues and improve your social life. It will bring peace and clarity to your life and help you in personal growth.

In personal life, you can make use of a to not do list in planning weekends and vacations. It will help you cut the unnecessary activities on the trip and find extra time for more enjoyment.

How Can You Prepare a To Not Do List For Yourself?

Preparing a to not do list may be difficult sometimes. It takes time and a lot of thoughts. Though it is difficult, you should make one because it will help you in your life for a long time.

If you are having trouble making one, then here are some steps which you can follow to make your “To Not Do” list.

  1. Pick a calm place and time. As we said that preparing a to do not list requires a lot of thought, you will need a quiet place to think about it in your free time.

  2. This step is more like retrospection. Simply go through all of your tasks, appointments, projects, and personal tasks of last month. Carefully analyze them. See if you can figure out any kind of patterns in their occurrence.

  3. Think about the effects of those tasks from last month. Especially the ones that occurred repeatedly. See if they match up with your job responsibilities. How much value did they add to your professional status? Are they interfering with your regular work? Do they have any bad impact on you? Is it possible to make someone else perform it? Answer these questions for all of the tasks. Try to be honest here because it’s for your own good.

  4. Identify tasks that add little to no value to your professional status and achievements. Use the answers that you collected from the previous step. Also, sort out the tasks that interfere with your regular work and the ones that do not suit your personality. Write them down, and you will have your “To Do Not” list.

  5. This is a bonus step. It is not necessary that you follow it. But it may help you in the future for saying no to those unnecessary, trouble making tasks. Basically, design some templates which will be used for saying no in a gentle way. Try to use gentle words and believable excuses so that it can be used in unexpected situations, where you are forced to take unnecessary work.


Follow these steps, and you will have your “To Do Not” list. Try to follow it, and you may notice a significant difference in your life. It will result in personal and professional growth. As a result, you will achieve your goals quickly. So, try to pick a time and place for making your “To Do Not” list.

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