February 16, 2017

Make a “To Don’t” List

Ah, the seduction of my ‘to do’ list! The illusion of control I have when I make it… The satisfaction I get from crossing things off it….

In fact, I love it so much that I keep it on a 2 x 4 (that’s feet, not inches) Post It on the wall of my office. (I highly recommend this, by the way. It’s far harder to ignore things when they are on a poster, not a page.)

So why am I writing about a “To Don’t” list?

Because I think we are often so caught up in the busy-ness of our days that we find ourselves on autopilot regarding habits, choices, and people that don’t serve us.

And while we may say to ourselves from time to time, “I really need to stop doing X.” Or think to ourselves from time to time, “How am I in this situation again??” if we don’t stop to recognize the thought process or behavior that landed us in that scenario we are likely to repeat it.

Hence, the “to don’t” list.

So how do I use mine?

My “to don’t” list works like a GPS. First, I identify the result/behavior/situation that isn’t serving me or that I don’t wish to achieve. Then I work backward through how to ensure it doesn’t occur—or continue to occur.

And, as with a GPS, these steps can be fluid—there are multiple ways to arrive at the destination—but setting the destination is key.

Setting the destination keeps me on course.

If this idea intrigues you, pull out your pen and paper (or Post It and magic marker) and knock out a quick “to don’t” list.

I look forward to hearing how it goes.