Just Don’t Do It

to-dont-listYou probably have a To Do list(s). Perhaps you keep it on scraps of paper, or in your phone, or in task management software, or (bad idea) in your brain. At any given time, you have things you want to get done in the near future.

What’s on your To Don’t list?

We’re responsible for many things. We say yes a lot. We have myriad goals and ideas and passions. So most of us add tasks ad nauseam. This month, commit to moving one task to the To Don’t list.

There are probably many things you don’t want to do: your laundry, the dishes, data entry. But before you draw thick black lines through your least favorite tasks, it’s important to distinguish between:

  • Tasks you don’t enjoy but are a means to an end you want
  • Tasks you loathe that are inefficient, waste your time, and do not bring you closer to your goals

The former may not be fun, but are important to get you where you want to be. You want to do them in the sense that you want their results. It’s a different sort of wanting than I-want-to-eat-a-cookie, but it counts. The latter tasks should go. Time is a nonrenewable resource, and spending it doing loathsome tasks is depressing. It’s amazingly easy to get comfortable doing onerous things. Shake yourself out of complacency by putting tasks to these questions:

  • Does this truly need to be done? (Does my house need to be as clean as my mother’s?)
  • Can I share or shift this task? (Coworker? Partner? Children?)
  • How can this task be done better? (Efficiency, frequency, necessity)

Not sure what to vote off the island? Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours schedule helps you see where your time actually goes. Get nerdy and track the percentage you spend doing your various activities. Tenacious tracking helps you find patterns, and patterns let you identify unproductive and time-sucking tasks.

There are no rules for being an adult. You could stop doing the laundry – no one can forbid you. From Gala Darling,

“…you have permission to simply stop doing the things that don’t thrill you anymore… you can change your mind, whenever you like.”

What will it be? What’s going on your To Don’t list?

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About Eva

I make your online business project better. I write about careers, being, productivity, and money.
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