Tuesday, April 24, 2012

To Don't

Photograph by Madden Photography

I've been traveling a bit recently, and one thing (the only thing?) I love about the actual traveling part is that being in an airport or airplane for any amount of time allows me to catch up on reading. I haven't done a great job of setting aside time to read in my day to day schedule, so the flights I used to dread I now look forward to because it means I have some time to get lost in a book.

On my past couple of flights I finished Drive by Daniel Pink (an interesting read), which is all about what motivates us. At the end of the book Pink shares some tools for staying on track and keeping motivated. One stood out in particular, because it is very simple yet I could instantly see how it would be an effective tool. Most of us probably have a good idea of the things that distract us, but have you ever really organized those thoughts and written them down on a to-don't list? I hadn't!

The idea of making a to-don't list (credited to Tom Peters, btw) is so simple and easy to implement, especially if you already write to-do lists. I love that it's a tangible little reminder of the things we know we shouldn't be doing that suck up our time and energy. The next time you're writing a to-do list, why not make a separate column and jot down a few things that you want to avoid that day and just say no! Staying motivated and focused can be tough. Making a to-don't list is a great way to check your distracting habits at the door so you can concentrate and get more done (e.g, stop checking Facebook so you have more time to read besides just when you're on an airplane). ;)


  1. Oh oh oh this is an AMAZING IDEA!!!!!!!!!!! I will start doing that... I have so many thing I should avoid that distract me ... ouf! (computer is one big one!) ... trying to get away from it as much as I can! Thanks Laura! I love reading too, I´m trying to at least give myself 10 to 30 min. before going to sleep to read... I need to, love to read! (wish I had more time too)

  2. That is such a great idea. I am definitely going to have to make a list like this, along with a to-do list since I am really bad at being organized in that area.

    I love that photo too, so calming.

  3. Love the idea of a to-don't list. I make lists all the time. I don't know if they help, but they make me happy. I like how ordered they look on a page. Maybe it's because they're in stark contrast to the chaos of my life.... hmmm.

    PS. your photo rocks. Can we get some tranquil music here, please?