You are currently viewing Why I emphasize it’s important to create Not-to-do list

Why I emphasize it’s important to create Not-to-do list

  • Post category:journaling tips
  • Post last modified:2022-05-11
  • Reading time:10 mins read

Hi! This is Asa. I am hosting journaling workshop in Kigali, Rwanda.

The contents of journaling workshop vary depending on the month, but one of the activities I like is creating Not-To-Do list together.

I personally think this is very important for busy people, which is most of us I guess, who tends to overload ourselves.

In this blog post, I am sharing what Not-To-Do List and the benefits of making one whenever you make normal To Do List. This activity will create a little more space in your busy daily life.

Everyone makes To-Do List which tends to be long

Long list of To Do List

I assume everyone know what is To-Do list. It is a simple but great form of tracking what you need to do & what you have actually done.

– Create shopping list
– Buy birthday gift for thisweekend
– Book doctor’s appointment

And the list goes on. It depends on your schedule, but some people prefers daily list or weekly list. Format may vary but the idea is to capture all the things you need to do on one paper, so that you don’t forget.

I make To-Do list every weekdays. Every morning, when I get to office, I open my bullet journal, go through what I couldn’t finish the last day, and write down all the To-Do for the day, including both work & personal items.

So, yes, I do also make To-Do List for sure. I know it’s a great form to keep track. But in this blog post, I also want to share a different version, Not-To-Do list.

What is Not-To-Do list?

What is Not-To-Do list?

I call the list Not-To-Do list because I list up the things I want to stop doing or focus on giving up, which means what I do NOT want to do.

During the workshop, we have a moment to create wish list for coming weeks. But together with wish list, I always encourage friends to create Not-To-Do list.

We tends to create LOOOOOONG To-Do list in our daily life, but do you ever spend some time to think on what you want to give up to have more space? This is a great activity to get started with.

How to create Not-To-Do list?

How to create Not-To-Do list?

If you are interested in the idea of Not-To-Do list, let’s get you started. It is very simple.

Take a moment to reflect on your daily life and think of things you want to stop doing. It might be postponing things so many times, spending time on not desired people or activities, or having negative feeling toward something.

– Eating too much lunch
– Long screentime
– Procrastinating reading books

When you just create the list, it looks very overwhelming. So many things that I need to do but where to get started…. I means, that is why I keep postponing tackling those items for so long, anyways…

Don’t worry. There is one more step, to make the list more achievable. You go through item by item, and come up with tactical ideas to achieve it.

– Eating too much lunch -> Bring my own lunch to office
– Long screentime -> Set limit on each app / No phone after 20:00
– Procrastinating reading books -> Keep books near the sofa / Open book in the evening

If you just look at “Eating too much lunch”, the goal is quite vague. But if you write “Bring my own lunch to office” then I know what exactly I need to do. Grab your box and keep it on the counter, so that you don’t forget tomorrow morning!

Of course, you cannot change everything at one shot, but doing this activity regularly, some item would be crossed off in the near future and your life would be a little bit better one.

Benefit of creating Not-To-Do list

If you are wondering where this Not-To-Do list activity will take you, here are the three reasons I think it is important especially for busy people.

To stop your bad habits

To stop your bad habits

Honestly speaking, everyone has both good and bad habits. No matter how intentionally you live, there are some areas of your life where you have small hiccups.

By creating the list, the small bad habits will appear on the paper, not just something stuck in the corner of your brain to tackle anytime later. And then, by coming up with achievable ways to tackle, you are more likely to take action to stop the bad habits.

To create more time

Also, this Not-To-Do list will give you more time. There are so many things that take space in our previous time.

For me, and I guess for many people, SNS is the one. I am always surprised to see how many minutes/hours I spend as screen-time!

By creating this list, you might stop long screen-time, not-so-fun socializing time, or staying at office longer than you are supposed to. The list will support you to have more time to enjoy what you actually want to do.

To focus on your real wish

To focus on your real wish

Once you get rid of your bad habits and have a little bit of extra time, you now have time and energy to focus on what you really want to do.

If there are extra 30 mins, what would you do? If you managed to create that space, let’s not just wasted. Let’s use it for some fun & interesting things!

  • What are the things you wanted to do if you have extra time?
  • What are the things that make your day a better one?
  • Or what will enrich your life?

Here comes the time to go through your wish list.

Creating Not-To-Do list helps you gain more time & energy

Creating Not-To-Do list helps you gain more time & energy

During journaling workshop, we create wish list together with Not-To-Do list. I think this combination is powerful.

Everyone already has so many things on their table that even when you make wish list, that there is no time and energy to actually make it happen.

Not-To-Do list will support you in creating more space in your mind and day so that you can actually enjoy your life.

  • Grab your pen and paper.
  • Sit down with a cup of tea.
  • Reflect for 10-15 minutes.

This is how easy to get started!

Or if you are looking for some companies to get you started with, please join the next journaling workshop! Latest schedule is shared on my Instagram account (@happy_morning_asa). Please follow me!

Journaling workshop and why it is important for you – Minimalish Journal (