A 'Not-To-Do' List

by gracebrooke

I read an interesting article today in the Bottom Line Personal written by Gary Bencivenga on ways to boost your productivity. Lately, I have had a personal struggle with being too productive and not giving myself permission to relax and do nothing. I was drawn to the title ‘Why Your Not-To-Do List Is More Important Than Your To-Do List’. I was hoping Gary was going to tell me it was OK to sit back and not do anything with my days…that wasn’t the way it went.

I wanted to share an interesting topic within the article that I have heard before, but found it to be a great reminder. It is on applying the 80/20 rule to everything you do. Are you aware that 20% of your daily activities are responsible for 80% of your happiness, success, and even your income? These are considered your ‘big-payoff’ activities. At the same time, 20% of your activities are causing 80% of your wasted time. These are your ‘low-payoff’ activities.

To increase your productivity, always look for ways to free up more time to do your big-payoff tasks/activities by eliminating the many low-payoff ones that keep you from achieving your desired goals and dreams.

Your ‘Not-To-Do’ list can be more important than your ‘To-Do’ list! You must constantly be working to minimize or get rid of those 20% of activities that are wasting 80% of your time. You can do this by maintaining your ‘Not-To-Do’ list…

Here are some examples for your ‘Not-To-Do’ list:

  • Never answer email in the morning – Reserve this cherished morning time for your highest payoff activities.
  • Don’t answer phones just because they ring– take advantage of voice-mail, text messaging, and caller ID services. Answering a phone can distract you from doing your current high-payoff activity. It may just be a sales person looking to waste your time and ruin your focus.

Gary suggested asking yourself two questions for every task. Here they are: (1) Does this have to be done? (2) If so, does it have to be done by me? Don’t just be efficient, but be effective too. Do the right things and not just do them right!

So each day when you are creating your ‘To-Do’ list, think of creating your ‘Not-To-Do’ list as well.

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