By now, we are all very familiar with the importance of the standard to-do list (or, as I posted here, to-do lists).
But have you ever considered keeping a Don’t-Do List?
Such a list isn’t very popular but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. While to-do lists help you prioritize your tasks, a don’t-do list will help you stop wasting time. According to a survey conducted by Salary.com, 69% of the people they surveyed admitted to wasting time at work on a daily basis. That adds up to a lot of hours.
Don’t-do lists aren’t particularly hard or revolutionary but they do keep you honest.
What Do You Spend The Most Time Doing?
To get yourself on the right track, first make a list of the things that you spend the most time doing. Then prioritize them starting with most productive to least productive. You now have the start of a don’t do list. Take the last 5 items on your list. How much time do you spend doing these things? Can you stop doing them? What will happen? If you try hard enough or think outside the box, you can probably find some way around them, while saving time.
What Tasks Can You Delegate?
A don’t-do list is not necessarily a list of things that are unimportant, but rather a list of items not exclusively worth your time. Therefore, the don’t-do list can also include items that need to get done, but not necessarily by you. If you want to be a productive worker or a efficient leader, don’t have the mentality of “if you want it done right, do it yourself.” Instead, learn to delegate. Not everything needs to be done by you. In very simple terms – it’s worth it to pay someone $10 to mow your lawn instead of wasting an hour doing it yourself.
What is a complete waste of your time?
Think about the things that are a complete waste of your time, big or small. Do you really need to do them? We often get into a routine or habit of doing something and we continue to do so just because. If you can’t identify your gain, it’s probably not worth your time. This might sound crazy but just stop doing it. See what happens. You’ll still have the chance to rework and tweak. But you might be surprised to find that not doing something you normally do doesn’t hurt your productivity at all. It all depends on what it is.