Would you like to reduce stress at work? Then instead of focusing on your ‘to-do’ list, check out the ‘to-don’t’ list
Are you overworked, under paid and struggling to find a balance between work and your personal life? Yeah, us too. Which is why we’ve decided to adopt the idea of a ‘to don’t’ list. Instead of listing out all the jobs we have to do in any given work day, we’re switching the focus. Research shows that to do lists can actually make you anxious and result in you feeling overwhelmed. So, instead of writing out a list of thing you have to do, write a list of things you’re not allowed do.
Confused? Stick with us. Write a list of all the things that distract you from the job at hand. Maybe you respond to emails as they come in. Maybe you browse the internet for 45 minutes first thing in the moring or maybe you down tools at 12.30pm in anticipation of lunchtime? Did you ever think about what would happen if you stopped wasting time? You probably wouldn’t have to work late and you’d probably achieve much more during the day.
Not convinced? Caroline Arnold, author of Small Move, Big Change, believes that a to-don’t list sets you up for productivity on autopilot, so you don’t have to constantly exercise energy-draining willpower as you attempt to focus.
How to make a ‘to-don’t’ list
If you’re not entirely sure you get the point, then think about an activity you do throughout the day and ask yourself these two questions
- Does it help you do your job well?
- Does it make you happy?
If the task at hand doesn’t get a yes answer to both of these questions, then it’s not done today.
“You’re likely to find it empowering and liberating,” says Arnold. “Your stress levels decline as you become more energised and organised, you shake off that sense of helplessness. The to-don’t list becomes second nature – you deal with whatever the day throws at you as calmly, efficiently and automatically as you brush your teeth.”