If you’re busy and overwhelmed like most people you’ll likely have some sort of to-do list going. It could be in the form of a notebook, a computer, mobile device or even heaven forbid a piece of paper. But some days looking at the list just makes me feel crazy. There is so many things to do that sometimes I get the feeling the list has “legs” of its own like a centipede.
In others words the list seems to keep growing and growing without my help. In my experience at some point the list becomes an alligator… one that bites.
So how do you get control of your to-do list?
How about creating a not to do list instead?
Because we’ve either heard and use these terms so often a great deal of our thinking comes from, No I won’t, don’t know how, can’t get it done, part of our brain. I sometimes use this same concept with my list. Here’s how it goes.
Take this article for instance. Most people would write on their to-do list get an article written by a specific date. Instead I might put on my not to-do list something like:
Not to waste time doing things that is not going to be of value to my clients. That forces me to focus on what I need to do first which is to add value. Because quite frankly, saying to myself write an article is not always an effective motivating factor for me. But when I think about giving value that can have an effect that motivates me to take appropriate action. In this case the action I take will provide the most value for my clients.
Let me give you another example. Maybe I need to clean the bathroom and let’s face, it that’s one of my least favorite jobs (maybe it’s your least favorite too). I change that thought to “not to have my bathroom unprepared for company.”
Here’s the deal. Our mind is a funny thing. It’s so use to the negative, it can be difficult to continuously focus on something positive. In fact, it would take an extraordinary the effort to focus on something positive all the time. And this of course causes stress
So here are some ideas of what to put on your not-to-do list:
• I am not going to get distracted from the most important thing I can do today (whatever that thing is). If I think about not getting distracted that automatically makes me think about the things I need to focus on.
• I am Not going to get confuse and buy into the idea that activity equals productivity. Instead do something that you know will move you closer toward your goals
• I won’t going to attend events including teleseminars or teleclasses that I not willing to take the actions directed by the trainer. Instead carefully select the events you plan to attend.
• I won’t confuse eating fewer meals with losing weight. Instead accept it’s all about the actual food choices you make when you eat.
• I won’t look at and respond to each email when it arrives. Instead select a time of day such at 9 am 12 noon and 4:30 pm and spend only 15 – 30 minutes reviewing and responding to email.
• I am not going to work through lunch. Instead plan your lunch and take a break away from your work.
• I can’t work non-stop for hours on end without a breather. Instead I use a 30 minute hour glass to time my activities, then I take a break. One quick stress busting activity is to simply take a deep breath. When your body is under stress, breathing becomes shallow. You might even notice you hold your breath. Taking a deep breath releases tension instantly. Oxygen immediately starts to flow to the cells. Energy is free to move throughout your body. Taking a deep breath after 30 minutes of deep focused work just might make you work a little bit smarter.
• I am not going to give up on my goal even when I feel tired. Instead remember why you had the goal in the first place.
This simple way of thinking helps you stop and think about what you’re doing that might be getting in the way of reaching your objectives. It also relieves you of the constant burden of trying to think positive all the time.
So what are you going to put on your not to do list?