How About Having A Not-To-Do List?

Kumar Gauraw

Everybody seems to talk of “To-Do-List” and I had shared about it earlier when I shared how I manage my list as well.
writing not-to-do list is as important as to-do-list for effective productivity in life
However, having a “Not-To-Do” list is equally important, if not more so, because I have been in situations recently where there are more things lined up for me to act upon while I am not yet done with my current task at hand. Situations like this bring frustration.

What I noticed with experience is, as we get better at doing our work effectively, we also attract more and more attention from others and that means more assignments.

If you have been employed, you know it’s true because the more you quality you deliver, the more is expected of you.

If you have a business, you would have noticed, the more happy your existing customers, the more new clients you get. That means more work for you.

While more work usually means growth, it also means that our time is limited and if we aren’t wise about managing our time, success may bring more frustrations than happiness. It is true for everybody.

As Our Responsibilities Grow, Our Priorities Should Change

Nothing is constant in life. Our responsibilities change as we age, as we get promotions, and as our businesses grow.

We must also adjust our priorities and exclude a few activities while adding some new ones into our schedule to stay productive and effective.

And a “Not-To-Do” list is an important aspect of being productive. I realized I must not do a few things while I must do a few other things I never did before, as my priorities change from time to time.

And today, I want to share with you a few things that I decided to put in my “Not-To-Do” list recently. Hopefully, you will find them useful and implement some of them in your “Not-To-Do” list to stay productive:

1. Do Not Read/Watch News

If a news is worth knowing, somebody tells me about it and then I can make a Google search about it to just learn enough about it.

Why waste time reading news everyday when I know that the news is rarely any positive? Why should I waste my time filling my mind with negativity in the name of current affairs?

2. Do Not Underestimate Value Of Time

It happened recently when I blocked my time for a meeting clearing an hour in my calendar for a meeting with a prospective client. Well, the call did happen but only to postpone for future due to another appointment that seemed more important to this person.

Well, lessons learnt. I won’t let anybody ruin my calendar again. If anybody does it again, they don’t get another appointment from me going forward.

Why? Because my time on this earth is limited and I must make sure my life isn’t wasted waiting for nothing.

3. Do Not Be Afraid To Speak The Truth

When you speak the truth, you don’t have to remember anything. Yes, it can be a bit bitter at times, but, it brings more happiness in the long run when compared with short term pleasures that the lies bring.

4. Do Not Answer Calls From Unknown Numbers

If it’s important, they will leave a voice message. If not, why bother anyway?

5. Do Not Wait For The Perfect Time To Act

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.   [tweet this]

There are no guarantees in life. If something sounds good and there is an opportunity to take action now, act now. You never know what’s coming tomorrow. Don’t wait for the perfect time; it doesn’t exist.

6. Do Not Try To Do Everything Yourself

This one is a big one for me. It takes conscious effort every time because it’s hard for me to convince myself that somebody else can do the same thing as good as I can (if not better.)

But, believing in others and empowering them to take over, has been one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made. Try not doing everything by yourself because you won’t be able to.

You can’t do everything by yourself and also stay happy and succeed. It’s much easier if you let others help you.

7. Do Not Get Hung Up On Details

I am a bottom line who tends to leave details to somebody else. At home, my wife does a great job when it comes to details and in business, I have very detailed people in my team to help me with that.

However, I have noticed that, sometimes, if I don’t take control, the discussions on details can kill a lot of time without getting anything done.

So, you always have to keep a tab on yourself if you are a detailed person or, make sure your team isn’t wasting a lot of time because they are very detail oriented.

Your Turn – What Do You Have In Your List?

Having seen my “Not-To-Do” list, do you have some of your favorite items to put in this list?

Did I jog your memory a bit?

Please share your thoughts about your list of “Not-To-Do” items in your comments and add value. Thank you kindly!

Kumar Gauraw

Posts Twitter Facebook

Kumar Gauraw is a Personal Branding & Social Media strategist helping entrepreneurs and skilled professionals achieve personal and professional success by developing leadership and leveraging the power of the Internet, Blogging and Social Media.

29 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...

  1. Hi Kumar. I like the idea of a Not To Do list. Mine contains some of the same items as yours with the notable exception of reading the news, which I do voraciously though from selected sources which tend to provide opposing points of view. Since becoming a blogger, I have added 1 more important item, which is to NOT read a subsequent post by any of the thousands of bloggers who recycle the same old tips on blogging or social media. without adding any value. Within Bloggers Helping Bloggers, I have found several knowledgeable professionals, including yourself who always add value with fresh material or a fresh perspective and I follow your posts consistently. For the vast majority I do NOT read them and do NOT feel the least remorse about it !

    • Hi Paul,

      I hope you are having a great time on this memorial day with your new post as well. Very interesting conversation going on there 🙂

      Yeah, I see why you would love to read newspaper. But, that is something I consciously try to avoid because of the negativity it fills my mind with and I prefer to keep my mind free of what else has gone wrong in the world today so I can focus my energy on positives things I can do to make a positive difference in my life and of those around me.

      Thank you for your kind words. I am honored to know you enjoy my posts. Appreciate you for the words of encouragement.


  2. Hi Kumar,

    Happy Memorial Day!

    I remember watching the news when Hurricane Katrina hit. I acted immediately on the invitation to go because I wanted to help. News may be negative, but it can be turned to positive when you look at it for opportunities to contribute. I think you can watch the news for enlightenment without the negativity taking a toll on you.

    Top of my DO NOT list: I do not associate with perpetually pessimistic people. They are energy drainers.

    You just happened to use the same words in this post as I did in mine: Don’t wait for the perfect time; it doesn’t exist. I DO NOT sit around waiting for things to happen.

    All the best!

    • Hi Bill,

      Yes, I noticed that after you mentioned 🙂 sometimes we do think alike!

      News is helpful but I am just not interested in funding out what goes wrong everyday.

      And trust me, when something like Katrina happens, I don’t need to watch TV to know about it. Somebody will tell me and then I can do what I need to do.

      My point is, news is negative in general and I would rather protect my brain from that negativity just like we protect our computer from viruses.

      Just my philosophy 🙂


  3. Hi Gauraw
    Amazing seven ideas !!!
    Do’s and Don’t are two major partner of life.
    Keep posting.

  4. The title of your post intrigued me to read this as till date I have been reading stuffs about how and why you should have a To-Do list.

    Certainly you have made great points. I would like to add one more point which I learnt in past few days by keeping a conscious tab on my activities. I spent too much time on social media(Facebook, Twitter, Checking mails every now and then) which I think used to kill a lot of my productive time. So its better to specify a time for your updates and a time to reply back comments and feedback as well.


    • That’s right Ankit.
      It is easy to hide behind that computer screen to make us feel that we are productive while we could be just more productive by not sitting behind that screen and go out in the field to make things happen.

      Have a successful week!

  5. Hi Kumar,

    Really its very informative and unique concept. i like your this concept ” Not to do list”. Your seven ideas are wonderful.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Keep it up:)

    • Aha! Thank you for your words of appreciation Addison. Glad you enjoyed the list.


  6. Epic Idea I guess,

    I’m really thankful that you’ve shared a wonderful idea which will surely get some positive impact.By adding not to do list we can easily stop it.


    • Awesome Samir! Glad you enjoyed this list. Isn’t it amazing how many things can easily fill our days if we don’t pay attentions? 🙂

  7. Love it Kumar
    A not to do list. Perfect
    I need to add to mine quite seriously! Answering the phone from strangers has always been on that list, and in fact not even answering it when I am busy is also a good idea. Although now with a business it is not really an option.
    It is a great reminder though. Focus.

    • Thanks Ashley!
      Yeah, not answering phone isn’t a good idea on the name of being busy because the more your business grows, the busier you get. So, now, scrutinizing them is more important so you get to talk to those people who matter 🙂

      Thank you and have a great week!

  8. Hey Kumar,

    Great list Kumar. One of my weaknesses is procrastination. I know that I could get a lot more done if I just didn’t procrastinate so much. With procrastination, comes distractions. I think with distractions, I need to be like a bear and just go into hibernation LOL. Thanks for sharing Kumar. Have a great rest of the week!

    • Hi Sherman!

      Good to hear from you! Yes, procrastination is definitely a NO NO!

      Thank you for sharing this awesome tip.


  9. Hi Kumar,

    I have a “not to do list” myself. Number one is my number one also. If I want to know what is going on in the world I will scan some headlines on my computer. I NEVER watch the news! It is too negative.

    I have learned years ago that my time is worth it. When I make appointments with people, I call them so I have control of my time. If they cannot make it within five or ten minutes, I will re-schedule them to another day. I’m a stickler for that one! I never answer calls unless I’m waiting for someone to call me that I know. Family, friends and clients go to an answering service until I have my time block for calls. Rude? I think not.

    As you well know, I don’t try to do everything myself. Too many bloggers cannot move forward because they fiddle around with themes, plugins, etc. You and your wonderful company does that for me. It keeps me on track of what needs to be done.

    I also learned how to farm out some of my mundane work. I work in chunks of time, so I need someone to do certain things for me in business as well as in the household property.

    What I have also on my “Not to do list” is having someone do the lawn, hire a dog walker when I’m too busy, have my blog posts edited by David, (saves me so much time) and hiring a manager for some properties I own.

    It is important to have that “not to do list” because we cannot do everything ourselves and expect to run a business properly.


    • Wow! I am not even close to your level of control on phone calls Donna!

      I do pickup phone calls from people I know (friends, family and associates) unless I am in a situation where it isn’t appropriate (such as in meetings).

      The only phone calls I absolutely do not pickup are those coming from unknown numbers as I discussed already.

      You are right. Knowing what we should do and what we should delegate is absolutely makes a difference. Thank you for sharing about your working style which definitely adds a lot of sense!

      Have a great new week!


  10. Hi Kumar,

    Re: 3. Do Not Be Afraid To Speak The Truth

    You and many others know very well that I’m not afraid 🙂 But your readers should be aware of the fact that speaking the truth may be a double edge sword. The crowd doesn’t like the truth unless it’s about other people. So if you want to be popular, don’t tell the truth. Avoid it. See only the good things. Everyone will be happy. Well, maybe some people will fail if you don’t help them by telling the truth… But they will happily fail, in a positive manner… There’s some sarcasm here, cannot be denied, but what can I do? I don’t wanna be popular 🙂

    • LOL! Yeah, speaking of speaking the truth! You are always on top of it my friend!
      One thing though. Some people are not blessed with a heart as strong as some of us and so they get hurt sometimes by the truth. Now, does that mean we can’t tell them the truth? Absolutely NOT! We can still tell them the truth.

      That is where people skills play their role. That is where we get to test (and also practice) our skills of getting the message out without hurting their feelings/ego. I am not a guru and occasionally, I let my emotions get in the way as well. But, when I am in control of my emotions, I am able to present the truth in a much polished way and get others to do what I want them to do. It is a wonderful thing to do.

      One of the books I read and highly recommend for people skills (it’s the art of getting along with others even those who are not very compatible) is from my favorite, Bob Burg about which I shared in this post:

      In any case, being truthful is way better than being nice. At least you don’t have to remember what you said when you stay with the truth.


  11. Hi Kumar,

    Wonderful post, and I liked the idea of having a not to do list, different from the usual to do lists we all tend to make 🙂

    I do read the newspaper, but that’s always combined with my morning bed tea, so I don’t waste time or ours, just scan through as then I don’t waste time online unless it’s reading something really important.

    Phone calls! I don’t even know where my phone lies as I hardly use it! So, that one works perfectly for me, or perhaps I am online all the time so hardly need to use it all that much, unless need be. My list would include not getting up while working to do anything else, other than taking a break – no distractions, no procrastination, nothing while working – fully focused. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    • Hi Harleena,

      Not picking up the calls is one of those things which is hard to fight. Stephen Covey had written about this as one of those most dominant “urgent” type tasks. But then, it wasn’t as distracting when he wrote the book. Today, phone calls are more of a distractions than a meaningful tool for urgent communication.

      And, if you are able to be in control, you are doing a great job 🙂 I am not able to do that except that I don’t pickup calls from unknown numbers unless I am expecting a call from a particular area.

      Thank you for sharing your story. Appreciate you for adding value through your contribution.


  12. Ah Kumar,

    I have to say that’s a pretty darn good list.

    I haven’t watched the news in probably a good eight years now. The only time I’ll watch is when I go to my Mom’s for dinner and she may have it on. I usually don’t pay much attention to it and she’s always telling me about what happened to this person or that one and I told her it doesn’t concern me and I don’t care to know. I’m not filling my head with all the bad that’s going on in this world.

    I never answer the phone unless I recognize a number and have the time to actually take the call. That’s what voice-mail is for. 😉

    I do speak the truth as I see if and if people appreciate it then that’s great. If people disagree with me then that’s their opinion which is what makes the world go round right! The way I view that is I’m not going to lie about anything so there.

    Great list Kumar and thanks for sharing. At the moment I don’t think I have anything else to add.


    • Hi Adrienne,

      Thank you for dropping by and adding value. Again, looks like you have pretty much same things in your NOT TO DO LIST 🙂 That’s awesome!

      I would have loved to see a thing or two in addition. But I am glad you enjoyed the list. Have a great rest of the week:-)


  13. Hi Kumar
    Thanks for writing a unique list of things-not-to-do which is first of its kind I ever read online or offline. Your tips no 6 itself speaks of volume if we try to understand it.
    As a blogger we keep doing it in our every venture. We do every work ourselves and sometimes give lesser time and energies to a work that is no as important as the other one which may be a turning soul of your business. As a result we remain away from goals and get frustrated. Very few bloggers point this reason as behind their failure and never realize that they did everything by themselves that is why they fail to do anything.
    Thanks a lot Kumar for sharing such a wonderful list that I will not forget and will be following it to save my time and energies. 🙂

    • Hi Mi Muba,

      Thank you for your kind words of appreciation. And yes, you are absolutely right about people becoming technicians forgetting their main business goals trying to handle everything on their own and ultimately failing to succeed. It’s very ironic.

      Thank you for adding value through your awesome commentary!


  14. If there is one point I just can’t agree with you on the more, it had to do trying to do everything by yourself. Many are simply obsessed with trying to be the Jack of all Trades but at the end they will be master of none.

  15. Raj

    Well I’d say my top distraction is social media and i guess I’ll make a not to do list on in it. By creating a list I can surely tell that it can be controlled.

  16. Hi Kumar,

    Truly excellent list !!!

    This is really very informative and meaningful their seven points. actually very helpful for me.

    Thanks for sharing have good day 🙂

  17. I’m so with you when it comes to not watching the news. I can’t recall the last time I watched it, it’s distracting, negative and there’s naff all I can do about any of it!
    Thanks for sharing your no to do list Kumar, I’m going to create my own one too.

Please Note: My goal is to host interesting conversations with caring, honest, and respectful people. Therefore, I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic.