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Make a To-Don’t List

What if you had to wear something scratchy or too-tight today? Everyone has a clothing article we bought because it looked better in the store than it actually feels or fits.  How productive could we be wearing an itchy sweater today? How motivated would we be for tomorrow’s work day knowing we had to wear shoes that rubbed blisters all day?


Those items are a tangible example of discomfort. We can feel the scratchy knit and experience the discomfort.  But, we often ‘wear’ activities and tasks that don’t fit and rub us the wrong way.  In the comfort of our closets, many of us might own up to our poor fashion purchase and donate it after one wearing.  Others might push it to the back of the closet and I imagine exactly none of us would make the choice to wear that uncomfortable item often.  Yet, we often continue performing uncomfortable activities that don’t fit us.


Go through your TO-DO list like you would go through your closet and identify tasks to move to your TO–DON’T list.   How to know what should be on the TO-DON’T list?  The same way we would declutter our closets – look for the items that don’t fit or that we don’t feel good wearing.

Examples are tasks that fall into these categories:

  • Activities we do out of guilt – the volunteer role we felt we had to say yes to but dread or the holiday ‘traditions’ that no one seems to value but we do because it’s always been done before.
  • Other people’s priorities – Are you helping others to the detriment of your own priorities? While it’s wonderful to support others, define your boundaries and don’t miss an opportunity to teach others to do for themselves.
  • Activities we hate doing – Weigh the cost of hiring someone to perform that task to the true cost of doing it yourself.  The true cost is loss of motivation, procrastination,  stress, or losing the opportunity to do something more beneficial to your spirit, your health or your business.
  • Activities that highlight our weaknesses and insecurities – It takes a lot of effort to overcome fear or reduce the analysis paralysis that may accompany these tasks. Seeking help is more productive than struggling alone.


If you wouldn’t wear clothes that don’t fit or flatter, don’t do tasks that don’t fit or flatter.  There are probably plenty of tasks to fill your calendar so save those precious minutes for what you love, what you value and what you rock at.