** Originally published on www.theentrepreneurnotes.com **
I originally read about this concept from Michael Hyatt (http://michaelhyatt.com/2007/01/the-not-to-do-list.html) According to Hyatt: “the idea is to list all the activities you are intentionally going to stop doing for the sake of greater productivity”
The reality is that as life evolves, and more projects come to life, priorities change and evolve and interest drifts and grows. The numbers of things we do get to a point in which it is impossible to keep up. At that time you have 2 options: lower your standards or get rid of the things that are not worth it for you to do.
One example of this is yard work. I hate that job, I am not interested in doing it well, and it is in my Do not Do list, I paid a service, my yard looks great and I can enjoy it and use my time for other things.
Not only can this list be used to make you more productive, this list in general contains a series of lessons. How do you think many of the things on my list got there? I learned from past experiences .I began my list sometime in 2007, my list is not big but it is full of learning experiences.
Here is my list at the time of this post, and I will go into detail on some of them.
The car and the yard are simply two things I hate, and I if I can pay to someone to do it for me, I will.
The next item, I will not finish a bad book or a book that I did not enjoy. This was something that I read in Steve Leveen book: The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life (http://www.amazon.com/Little-Guide-Your-Well-Read-Life/dp/1929154178/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246899969&sr=8-1). I tend to finish most of the books I start, but I must admit that after I read this I got permission to dump the ones I didn’t like and even during 2007 and 2008 I just dumped one book a year, I am happy I did.
I learned about back ups the hard way, I lost everything, and yes, more than once. One time on my PC, trying some software and once on my phone the same way. I learned the hard way, that rebuilding information is not a fun thing to do, it is painful and can drive you mad. Now its on my list, so I remind myself not to do it.
Finally, on December 2007, I decided that I was going to change my life. At the time I was overweight (more than 70lbs) and I was a heavy smoker. I set a three year plan in motion, from January 2008 to December 2010.
In 2008 the main goal was to stop smoking. Happy to report, that I quit smoking as of January 30th 2008, and I have not touch a cigarette since then. In 2009, the main goal was to get to the doctor and get my health checked (my last visit was a long, long time ago) and I began the process of changing my eating habits, losing weight and get ready for my 2010 goal. 2010’s main goal is to exercise, to create the exercise habit.
During 2008 I really did not have to write my goal of not smoking on my Do not Do list, I just did it. In 2009 (more than 50lbs lighter) I continue to, once in a while, eat my frustrations. During a chat on Do not Do list with the wonderful group of GTDers of the GTD Virtual Study Group (http://gtd-vsg.blogspot.com/) something hit me in the face (isn’t that how this things usually happen?) I should just write on my Do not Do list not to eat my frustrations. I did, that was the item number 6 of my list; and the process of writing it on the list has created a powerful bond to the compromise. I can’t guarantee that I will not eat my frustrations again, but I have done it less, and that it is a good start, something that I am proud of.
Do you have a Do not Do list? if so, will you share it with us? If not, why not? Have you considered creating this list as a way to stop certain things and put on paper other lessons that you have learned.
My Do not Do list has been a great tool, and even though it looks short, it has been a great complement to help increase my productivity, and help me stay focused on the important stuff.