Time Management Tip: Do Less, Get More Done

You know those items on your to-do list that you just never get to? Here’s a radical idea in productivity improvement – just don’t do them!

“The Dalai Lama’s To Do List”, flickr.com/photos/patrick58/

I’m not talking about the report that you’ve been procrastinating on and that’s due on Friday. Do that. Soon. Actually, stop reading this and do it now!

I’m talking about the projects you would like to get to, that don’t really have to be done by a certain date, that you think you “should” do, that you keep putting off, and that are nagging at you, hanging over your head, and generally making you miserable.

Give yourself a break from beating yourself up about them. Put them out of your mind until a future date. There are always more things to do than we currently have time for. The key to being effective isn’t to simply do more … it’s to consciously decide what to do, when.

Try this: Take out a piece of paper and spend a few minutes writing down all the things you want to do but keep putting off: the new cell phone plan you want to check out … the pile of articles you’d like to read … the closet that “should” be organized … the old files you want to review and toss.

Get everything out of your head and onto that sheet of paper, then put your Don’t Do list somewhere where you won’t see it for the next two weeks. (Maybe that bottom drawer where you’re storing old pads that you never use.)

Now make an appointment in your planner/smart phone/calendar for a week or two from now to retrieve the list. (Bonus tip – include reminder about where you put your Don’t Do list.)

In a week or two, revisit your Don’t Do list and see if you WANT to do any of those things, or if you want to put the list back in the drawer and schedule another date to get back to it. Or, you might want to toss the list entirely.

For now, forget those things, relax, and do the things you really need to do and really want to do.

GO try it:

Make your Don’t Do list right now. If you’ve made time to read this newsletter, you can spare another 5 minutes to decrease your level of stress and free up time for what matters most.

Enjoy your vacation from the nagging irritation of things undone! And, if in the next couple of weeks you are overcome by a sudden, inexplicable urge to do one of the items on your list, just do it!

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