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Want to Be More Productive? Make a To-Don’t List. Yes, You Read That Right

Published Mon Apr 12 2021


Everyone wants to be more productive, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to make lists. These can take the form of high-tech scheduling applications and automated alarms to the simple pen and paper to-do list. However, these lists have one thing in common: They focus exclusively on what needs to be accomplished and when. What if that model was flipped, though? What if you made a to-don’t list? In practice, this is a collection of activities you know will derail your productivity, and they start with self-awareness. To start, Elizabeth Grace Saunders, renowned time management coach, says to write down an end-of-day review. “You can reflect back on your day during a daily wrap-up. In this time, you can look at what you accomplished and what didn’t get completed. And you can also evaluate the activities that you did that weren’t part of your plan. You can ask yourself: Was that worth it? Did I enjoy it? Did I feel frustrated or derailed? By keeping track of your own feelings about the choices you made, you can start to discover what is or isn’t healthy for you.”

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