Forget “To Do” Lists; Make a “Don’t Do” List!

If you’re a first-born child, you’re intimately familiar with “To Do” lists. If you’ve ever known a first-born child, you’ve probably been forced into a “To Do” list by that individual. Regardless, making a list of things to do is a good way to make sure you get them done. But, these types of lists tend to focus only on tasks, not overall attitude. And, once something is checked off it’s done, gone and forgotten.

How about making a “Don’t Do” list to get your attitude right and break some bad habits? Here’s how it works:

  1. Write down some challenges you have (you know, things to avoid!)
  2. Then, think up “don’t” statements to remind you what not to do.
  3. Write down those statements on a piece of paper.
  4. Post up your “Don’t Do” list somewhere prominent!
  5. Glance at the list up to or more than 1,000 times per day.

Here are some unfiltered examples. I will confirm nor deny that they came from my own list!

Thing to Avoid “Don’t Do” Statement
Procrastination Stop screwing around, and just get it done Ben.
Spelling and grammar errors Ben, don’t you dare click that button until you proofread!
Double-booking conference rooms Hold on sending that meeting invite, Ben, without checking the conference room schedule.
Stress at work Don’t sweat the small things. Ben, just relax!

Adding your name to the statements makes them more personal. It also helps make it seem like your parent/boss/spouse/judge-y friend is right there with you. They might annoy you, but hey you know they have your best interests at heart. Please do not blame me for whatever voice you hear when reading your statements! That’s between you and your psychiatrist.

What’s your toughest thing to avoid doing? Don’t be afraid to let me know in the comments, you!

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