Reflect on what you don't do

Two main reasons to list the things you don't do:

(1) do it as a self-reflection exercise

(2) do it as a way to help yourself follow your own rules better


Below is my list of things I don’t do. Some of them are natural to me (like not paying attention to the ongoing news stream). Some of them I fail not to do sometimes. For instance, not checking email in the morning when I start the day in a bad mood.

I don't multitask:

  • I don’t take a mobile phone to the bathroom

  • I don't listen to podcasts/audiobooks while cooking or cleaning

  • I don't do things in parallel with a voice call

I don’t rush:

  • I don't eat fast

  • I don’t run to catch a traffic light

  • I don’t structure my days to make myself busy

  • I don’t answer immediately if it's not a live conversation

I don't let people to set an agenda for me before I set it for myself:

  • I don’t check email before 12 PM

  • I don’t check email on Saturday

  • I don’t take all the calls, especially from unknown numbers

I don't allow the technology to distract me:

  • I don't put distracting apps on the first screen of a mobile

  • I don’t use notifications (only badges for communication apps)

  • I don’t use sounds on a mobile phone (except vibrating for incoming calls)

I don't consume junk:

  • I don't eat potato chips

  • I don't drink sparkling sugary water

  • I don't watch cat videos

I don't subscribe to the common way of doing things:

  • I don't read the news

  • I don’t start a week on Monday (on Sunday instead)

  • I don’t use quarters to split the year (Rounds instead)

  • I don't celebrate growing up once a year on a Birthday (I celebrate monthly milestones days instead)

An idea to do this came from Jocelyn K Glei, who suggests listing things you don't do when you work to increase your productivity. She got an idea from Jim Collins who wrote about creating a “stop-doing list” instead of New Year's resolutions.