To-Don’t Lists

Hi everyone.  As the retail-friendly Holiday Season is upon us, we often start making to-do lists in order to manage the craziness.  Even the most adamant anti-list person can succumb this time of year, and that got me thinking about the importance of lists both so you know what TO do, and also what NOT to do.

I think that while lists are important to keep organized, sometimes people should come up with a “stop-doing” list. Just as important as getting the important work done is weaning oneself off of bad habits and reprogramming your brain to follow more productive habits.

While the occasional jaunt down the information superhighway (aka internet, for all you youngsters out there) is just fine and dandy, and a lot of reference is just a Google-click away (although if at all possible, we recommend using your own reference), spending hours playing games on Facebook or on your phone doesn’t do anyone any good.

Fun little breaks and the like are good for you, but I want to address any major bad habits – and nowadays, many of these habits end up in the form of constant Facebook browsing or randomly selecting wikipedia articles to read.

Creating a To-Don’t/Stop Doing list is a good way to honestly evaluate what sort of behaviors and habits aren’t working for you. If you’re doing well and you’re finding time to get everything done, then great. But if you aren’t, it may be wise to evaluate how much time you’re really putting into your work and how much time you’re putting into reading Gawker or the Onion (or yes, even Upworthy).

If you aren’t sure what needs to go onto your Stop-Doing list, perhaps you should try to take notes on your day. How much time are you REALLY spending on your painting? How much time are you spending on marketing? Playing video games? Watching TV? Once you start taking notes of when you start and stop doing things, the picture becomes a lot clearer, especially when you figure out that your break has lasted for an hour and a half.

If you’re doing everything that you want to be doing, maybe try making a Do-Less-Of list instead. That way you can more properly realign your priorities. Maybe take the comic book reading down from an hour to fifteen minutes a day. Maybe take out watching that extra TV show that you watch just because it’s after your favorite crime drama. That’s an extra hour and a half that you could spend working.

Alternatively, if you’re hustling non-stop, maybe you might need to take it down a notch so you can actually enjoy life. Instead of spending that extra fifteen minutes writing an extra blog post, you could spend that time catching up with a friend – after all, maybe your To-Do list might need more living life fully on there.

We’re not productivity fascists that want you to overwork yourself. The main point about budgeting your time and making evaluations about what you’re spending your time on is to really think about what is necessary and focus on that. Whether you’re overworked or overplayed, finding the right balance in your life is what it’s all about.

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