My “Don’t Do List” and Why You Need It Too

The importance of creating a list of things you don’t do is not as obvious as creating to-do lists. I began listing the things I don’t do in October.018 on a separate page in my main journal thanks to the article “Productivity Is Really About What You Don’t Do”. Jocelyn K. Glei suggests to list the things you don't do when you work to increase your productivity. I also advise you to check out the post by Jim Collins about creating a “stop-doing list” instead of New Year's resolutions that inspired Jocelyn.

There are two primary reasons to list the things you don't do from the perspective of my experience:

(1) to do it as a self-reflection exercise to re-evaluate your boundaries

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

What’s on My “Don’t Do List”

I don't multitask:

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

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

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

  • I don't listen to podcasts or audiobooks while doing other things (e.g., cooking, cleaning)

I don’t rush to avoid unnecessary stress for my system, including:

  • I don't eat fast

  • I don’t run to catch a traffic light

I don't allow technology to distract me:

  • I don’t put the phone in sight when I’m not using it

  • I don’t use notifications (except badges for calls and messages)

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

  • I don't place apps that hi-jack my attention on the first screen of my mobile (apps with badges or social media)

  • I don’t substitute quality rest (e.g., napping, walking, hanging out with e.s.b.) with social media

I don’t allow social media to sabotage my well-being:

  • I don’t use Instagram’s feed for 99% of accounts I follow (thanks to the mute function)

  • I don’t watch Instagram Stories every day (except for my sister)

  • I don’t use Facebook (except couple times a month)

  • I don’t use Twitter on my phone

I don't let the world set an agenda for me:

  • I don’t check email in the morning

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

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

  • I don’t schedule meetings on Tuesday

  • I don’t work on Saturday

I don't consume junk:

  • I don't eat potato chips

  • I don't drink soda

  • I don’t watch TV

  • I don't read the news

  • I don't watch cat videos

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

  • 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 (monthly milestones days instead, including Birthday)

  • I don’t use common days on the week (signature names are in use among me and e.s.b.)