Should I have a not-to-do list

I have a reasonable todo list going now. I use paper and pen and force myself to write a fresh list every day. That works well for me because I have writing things into my list when I already listed them. The pain of doing so actually forces me to do small things rather than rewrite them … and even to admit something will not happen.

But sometimes I should really know that I won’t get something done, so writing it down is a bit pointless. For example, if I have 6 hours of meetings tomorrow, then it is unlikely that I will also prepare a workshop agenda for the workshop at the end of the week.

Obviously I can just not write something down, but sometimes it feels like I should be starting on something, so I write it in their in the hope that the world will create an unexpected opportunity to get things done.

I guess I could prioritise better – listing the one thing that I will get done each day, or the top three. I have tried that with some success but I get out of the habit.

I wonder if I should actually try the opposite and do something like:

  • Write next to an item “if I have NOT spent anytime having a break today – just ditch this meeting”;
  • Write next to an item “work on this if it is before 5pm, otherwise just don’t do it today”
  • Write “Don’t do this unless you did that”
  • Write a reminder to “not check twitter today when waiting for meetings and elevators”
  • Write next to an item “Don’t do this if you are still behind on getting your workshop ready”; or
  • Do not do this today (which will cause me stress when I realise I am not going to prepare for my workshop today or tomorrow … meaning I will be in trouble.

What do you think – is that just a bit silly or is it something that might help me plan my day? I am going to try it anyway and see what happens.

Have you ever consciously written down things that you will not do?


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