Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Not to Do List

I often think that a Not to Do List is as important as a To Do List.

We can put various distractions and bad habits on the list and refer to it frequently to see if they are slipping into our day. Some popular entries might be:
  1. Don't fail to return phone calls within 24 hours.
  2. Don't skip meals.
  3. Don't skip exercise.
  4. Don't schedule too many meetings.
  5. Don't mistake activity for action.
  6. Don't let the best sabotage the good.
  7. Don't miss the opportunity to boost the spirits of at least one other person.


Dean said...

Dear Execupundit -

Your list has some excellent things on it. However, I have read and found it to be true that the mind does not hear the don't and does hear and acts on the rest of the statement (... skip meals). Accordingly, I think your don't do list would be better stated in the positive (a to-do list), for example -

1. Return phone calls within 24 hours.
2. Eat at regular intervals to stay fueled.
3. Exercise regularly.
4. Schedule as few meetings as you can get by with.
5. Remember to take action that moves your goals forward and avoid activity.
6. Remember sometimes good is better than best.
7. Take every opportunity to boost the spirits of at least one other person.

Excellent points all. Thanks for the reminder.

Michael Wade said...


Very good point.

In my own case, there are times when the "Don't" list is sort of a helpful jab in the ribs while I'm so focused in the "Do" list.

Of course, I try to make the "Don't" list as short as possible so it does not become diluted.