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How having a "To Don't" list alleviates stress.

We’ve all heard of, and some of us actually use to-do lists. They help us focus on our daily priorities, better manage our time, and increase our productivity. Using these lists gives us an added benefit. We experience an endorphin rush, a ping of happy hormones when we cross off a completed task.

To-do lists are great, but have you considered making a to-don’t list? In the article, 12 Things to Put on Your “To-Don’t” list Today, Marina Khidekel, editorial director at Thrive Global suggests adding to this list, “what you don’t actually need in your life, and which areas you can scale back on. The items on your to-don’t list are the tasks you should avoid for the sake of your focus, performance, and well-being. Below are several to-don’ts Marina shared from the Thrive Global community:

Thrive Global Community’s To-Don’t List

  • Don’t finish a book or movie you don’t enjoy

  • Don’t do tasks that can be delegated

  • Don’t work late all of the time

  • Don’t go to every social event you’re invited to

  • Don’t spend time with negative people

While my to-don’ts still reside in my brain, there are time management and productivity to-don’ts in addition to the ones mentioned above that I have on my internal list.

Linda’s To-Don’t List:

  • Don’t check my email when I first wake up

  • Don’t let my priorities always come last

  • Don’t show up late without letting the person know I’m running behind schedule

  • Don’t automatically say “yes” to a request without considering if it’s feasible given my current schedule and commitments

  • Don’t make an appointment without entering it on my calendar

  • Don’t return from vacation, shopping, or the day and not put away my things

  • Don’t leave the house without my watch unless it’s a no-watch-day

  • Don’t worry about things that may never happen

  • Don’t work continuously without taking water, bio, nature, or snack breaks

  • Don’t wish away time

  • Don’t rush through life

As I develop my to-don’t list, I’ll continue to add ideas. Do you have a to-don’t list? Do you see a value to creating one? Even if you haven’t made a list yet, what single item would you include? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Join the conversation!


Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®, CVPO™,is a compassionate, enthusiastic Professional Organizer and Coach, founder of Oh, So Organized!, Executive Mom Nest Advisor, author of The Other Side of Organized, and blogger on organizing and life balance. In addition to organizing virtually with clients worldwide, Linda presents workshops, writes, and mentors other Professional Organizers. Media features include The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, HuffPost, Woman’s Day, Westchester Magazine, Everyday with Rachel Ray, and lives with her husband between two rivers 30 miles north of New York City, in a small, colorful home with a purple front door. They are empty-nesters as their children are in the world living their adult lives.


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