All of us here at Tameday are big fans of author and entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss (you can check out his morning routine here).

On his blog, Tim recently shared nine things that we should aim to eliminate from our lives to make us more productive.

As you would do with high priority to-do items, Tim recommends focusing on just one or two at a time.

Tim Ferriss’ Not-To-Do List

1. Don’t answer calls from unrecognised numbers.
2. Don’t email first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
3. Don’t agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time.
4. Don’t let people ramble.
5. Don’t check email constantly — “batch” and check at set times only
6. Don’t over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers
7. Don’t work more to fix overwhelm — prioritise
8. Don’t carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7
9. Don’t expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should

Source: Tim Ferriss blog


The Power of the Not-To-Do List

Tim’s list shows that your not-to-do list can be just as important as your to-do list — in fact, this is a productivity hack espoused by Warren Buffet of all people.

By knowing what you want to avoid, you can focus your energy instead on the things you want to do and maximise your productivity.



Three To-Do Lists

Allison Rimm is a management consultant who contributes to the Harvard Business Review.

She’s also an advocate of the not-to-do list and suggests we create three to-do lists.

  1. Important but not time-sensitive tasks.
  2. Tasks that need to be completed today.
  3. And the not-to-do list.

For Allison, the not-to-do list is the most important — it will remind her of the things she has consciously decided aren’t worth her time.

She says, “Writing these down keeps them from sneaking back onto my to-do list.”


Final Thoughts

Time is a finite resource but we rarely budget our time with the same rigour we use for our finances.

To achieve your highest priorities, it’s important to be strategic about how you spend your time.

The not-to-do list helps us prioritise what we actually want to spend our time on and attention doing.

Items that aren’t important or urgent should go on your not-to-do list.

What’s on your not-to-list? Let us know in the comments below.


Related: Why I Like My To-Do Lists!

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