21 Ways of Getting Things Done
In this series we’ll take a look at the reasons people procrastinate and tips on overcoming the habit.
Strategy 8: Make a To-Don’t List
We all have weaknesses when it comes to time management. Hopefully there will only be a couple things that really get you side-tracked or are so absorbing that everything else goes by the wayside. Write down those time-wasters and put them on a new kind of list; a To-Don’t List. Hang the list in a prominent place.
No Facebook until kitchen is clean
No Candy Crush Soda Saga until report is written
No running errands until the task I’ve been procrastinating is started (or finished)
Don’t allow yourself to do any of the usual avoidance activities until the tasks you’ve been procrastinating are finished. Tackle these things first before doing anything else, and you’ll be surprised at how accomplished (and relieved) you’ll feel by getting them done. In fact, it will inspire you for the rest of the day!
What is the purpose of a to-don’t list? It’s meant to help you manage your time so you’re not spending it on things that don’t matter, or that matter less than what you should be doing. It’s okay to play and have “goof-off” time, but when play time outlasts “be productive time,” you know it’s time to do things a little differently.
This morning I started looking at emails, which led to checking out sales, downloading software purchases, organizing my internet browser’s bookmarks, and ending up on Facebook. Before I knew it three hours had lapsed and I hadn’t even started on the things I needed to get done today. If I had followed my own advice, I would have had my to-don’t sticky-note pasted on the computer screen: NO COMPUTER UNTIL…
Forbe’s contributor Peter Bregman writes about the importance of a to-don’t list and details his experience with his iPad obsession (What’s on Your To-Don’t List?).
Even if your not a list-maker, a simple “Don’t Do” warning sign posted on your bathroom mirror or office wall can help you avoid the daily distractions that whisk you away from productivity.