Your Not-To-Do List
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Good blog entries deserve to be passed on… like a game of telephone. 52 Projects told 43 Folders, who told me that…

Today is the day you start your project. Wake up. Make your coffee. Sit down. Get to work. Now, it should be that simple. Wake up and get to work. But there are many distractions. Mental and otherwise. So this is NOT a to-do list. This is a not-to-do list. You don’t need to check anything off, because these are things YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO.

The List is hillarious and oh-so-true. These are the ones I need to keep in mind:

  • Do not Google yourself.
  • Do not Google all your Exes.
  • Do not start thinking you are never going to finish.
  • Do not go to IMDB to see who that actor was in that movie you saw the other night.
  • Do not start reading your old journal entries.
  • Do not start wading through all the magazines you subscribe to but never read.

On a more serious note, while this is all well and good and entertaining, it’s pretty self-defeating. When you use a negative form, your brain hears the action, and not much else. When you say don’t Google yourself, your brain hears Google yourself, and it has no choice but to focus on it. As George Lakoff in his fabulous progressive handbook, says, “Don’t think of an elephant! Whatever you do, do NOT think of an elephant!” Okay, so did you? Don’t lie. While actual To-Do lists can be just another way to kill time, they do help train your brain to focus on what you can do. If you can articulate steps and write them down in order, you can focus on real actions, and you can limit your thoughts to what’s next. The first thing I do when I’m getting overwhelmed is make a To-Do list for everything that’s in my head.The second thing I do is go to the bookstore to wander. But more on that another time.

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2 Responses to “Your Not-To-Do List”

  1. Devon Valdovinos Says:

    A Great wordpress post, I will save this in my Diigo account. Have a great evening.

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Such superb analysis! I have no clue how you were able to write this’d take me long hours. Well worth it though, I’d suspect. Have you considered selling banners on your website?