The alternative to the 'to-do list' that's infinitely more productive.

You know all those to-do lists that are littering your desk right now? It’s time to throw them in the motherflippin’ bin.

Yep, your handy to-do lists might actually be doing you more harm than good.

When you create a do-to list, you basically jot down all the things you really should do but would rather not do.

Then you spend the rest of your time doing literally anything else just to avoid actually ticking things off your goddamn to-do list.

Like watching cat videos on Facebook, stalking someone you went to primary school with on Instagram, filing every email you’ve ever been sent, looking in the fridge for the 13th time that day, and writing, erm, more to-do lists.


Sound familiar?

So basically you need to put down that to-do list, flip it and reverse it (Is it worth it? Let me work it) and completely change your process.

Instead of writing down all the things you need to do and then actively avoiding them – write down all the things you should actively avoid and then JUST DON’T DO THEM.

Tim Ferriss, entrepreneur and author of The 4-Hour Work Week, is a big fan of the not-to-do list. He says not-to-do lists are often more effective in increasing productivity because “what you don’t do determines what you can do”.


As Steve Jobs famously said: “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things”.

In a sentence – getting rid of all those distractions actually creates the space for you to get shit done.

So you have to actively say no to Facebook, to constantly checking your inbox, to attending meetings that have no clear purpose or outcome, to responding to every phone call you receive, to completing all those smaller, easier tasks before you tackle your crucial tasks.

Your new not-to-do list might look a little something like this:

  • Don’t look at Facebook every five minutes.
  • Do not play Words with Friends with Linda from accounting.
  • Don’t check emails throughout the day.
  • Don’t send dog memes to all your friends.
  • Don’t answers phone calls from unknown numbers.
  • Don’t look in the fridge between meals.
  • Don’t write lists about how you’re going to tackle your to-do lists if only you could stop writing lists and actually get shit done.

Will you give the not-to-do list a go? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 

LISTEN: Signing work emails with an emoji makes you seem less competent.

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