Ditching Daily Hassles: The Anti-To-Do List

Fri, Mar 29, 2024

Sahil Bloom wrote an amazing article titled, “The Anti-To-Do List.” 

He defines it this way: “Where your To-Do List has the set of daily actions that drive you forward, your Anti-To-Do List has the set of daily actions, behaviors, and habits to avoid.” 

I loved the idea and wanted to try it. (Shoutout to my buddy Doug Phillips for sharing this concept with me.) 

The parameters I set for myself are to attempt to focus on things that I currently do and need to stop (instead of just writing a list of things that I’m already good at avoiding). The exercise should be built around things you can take action on.

Here are some things on my Anti-To-Do List:

Do not let tasks sit on my desk. 

David Allen’s Getting Things Done is one of the best productivity books ever written. 

In it, he outlines a very clear and simple rules engine for tasks. If it takes less than two minutes, do it now. If not, schedule its completion and move on. I break this rule on a nearly daily basis. There are tasks I put off, leave in my inbox, allow to linger, etc. 

The problem is that every single time you encounter these tasks, they occupy a piece of your mind and attention. It’s death by a thousand cuts, and it needs to stop. 

Do not use profanity out of insecurity. 

I love words and language. When I get insecure or nervous, the amount of profanity I use increases in direct proportion to my level of insecurity. I’d like to begin tapering that off. I think it impacts the way certain people can receive me. 

Do not lose my temper with my children. 

I’m usually pretty good at holding it together until I’m not. My littlest, especially, has the uncanny ability to stick with something with a level of focus and dedication until it sets me off. 

I need to be more emotionally intelligent than my 6-year-old.

Do not say things I’m going to regret. 

If I lose my temper, my mouth starts running. And I’m no longer in control. 

Words cut deeper than anything else, and they’re the hardest wounds to heal. I need to protect myself, and my relationships from things said in the heat of the moment. 

Do not take on new projects. 

I have enough to do. I’m good. The amount of opportunity in front of me is truly overwhelming. 

It doesn’t matter how good something looks or how much I know I can pull it off. The answer (for right now) is: No. Absolutely not. I need to focus. Fare thee well.

Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. 

Even while writing this article, I get little pangs of fear. 

Some of these things are vulnerable to share, and I worry about what people will think. But that worry inhibits my growth and ability to connect with and speak to others. Get over it. 

Do not stop growing. 

I’m successful, and that’s great. However, it’s also a trap. 

It becomes easy to trust your abilities when they’ve proven valid often enough. That also means you stop allowing for alternative truths and approaches. I hope I can be humble enough to catch myself if I do that. 

How about you? What would you put on your Anti-To-Do list?