Time Saving Hack: Create A “Do Not Do” List

Have you ever found yourself brushing your teeth at the end of the day and wishing you had more hours in the day? Saying to yourself there’s just not enough time to get everything done! I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately. If I only had three more hours in the day look how much I could do! So I started staying up later, or getting up earlier trying to squeeze more out of my day. Working through my lunches. But it still wasn’t enough. I was still feeling overwhelmed like I had too much to do each day.


I was watching a webinar on my lunch break today about time management from a businesswoman named Jenna Kutcher (who has a 6 month old baby by the way, and makes 7 figures a year with her businesses). She said “Beyoncé has the same number of hours in a day as you do!” So how does Beyoncé (or anyone hugely successful) find enough time?


They use a “Do Not Do List”.


Here’s how the Do Not Do List works:

Step 1: Make a list of everything you do in a day for one week. All the tasks you do around the house, your work tasks, chores, time spent with family, watching TV, playing on your phone, etc. and keep track of how much time you are spending on each task.

 Step 2: Look at your list of weekly activities and highlight anything you can

  • Automate,

  • Delegate, or

  • Eliminate

The idea here is that by automating tasks, delegating tasks, and eliminating tasks that don’t help us reach our goals we free up time. We have busy lives and it is unlikely that we will be able to find huge chunks of free time. But by making small changes we can find small bits of time that add up over the year.


I know I was really skeptical of this idea at first. I was raised with the belief that you shouldn’t pay someone else to do something you can do for yourself.


For me I had to change my mindset about how much my time was worth. If I can automate or delegate a task for less $$ than I can earn in that same time then it’s worth it.


Here’s my example of this process. We recently hired someone to come in every few weeks and help with some of our cleaning. Actually I don’t mind some housekeeping tasks. It’s good exercise and I feel like I accomplished something when I clean. But housekeeping doesn’t move the needle towards my goals. If I can hire someone to clean my house for $15 an hour and I can use that hour to make a new business contact that will pay me $50 or $100 then it’s a better use of my time to delegate the task.


What really help me shift to buying into this weird idea of the Do Not Do List was delving into my ultimate goals. What gets me excited to wake up and start the day? Sometimes people call this their “why”. The reason that they’re doing what their doing.


My why is to make a difference in the world so the generations that come after me, including my kids, have a better place to live. I do this through inspiring others to change the way they see themselves and the world so they can change their actions and make the world a happier, healthier place. What drives me is the goal of knowing that I want to make an impact on the world. This is my why.


Keeping my why in mind keeps me stay motivated each day. But I’ve also found that when I think about my why it’s easier to say no to tasks that don’t help me move the needle towards that goal. It’s easier to find tasks to delegate, automate, or eliminate because they don’t serve my why, my ultimate goal, my destination. I can say no to things that don’t align with what I really want in my life. Those things go on my Do Not Do List.


Try this this week. Write down every task that you do, no matter how small, throughout the week. Then take a look at that list.

  1. Is there anything you can automate? For example can you get an app to help with your scheduling, or can you set up automatic bill payments.

  2. Is there anything you can delegate? Maybe your kids can help more with chores. Maybe you can have your groceries delivered rather than going to pick them up. Maybe there’s something at work that would make more sense for someone else to do and take off your plate.

  3. Is there anything you can eliminate? Maybe it’s procrastination, spending too much time watching television, or spending too much time on social media.


While you’re doing this I want you to think about your ultimate goals. Ask yourself if it was a year from now and I just had the best year of my life what would that year look like? What would I have done, what would I achieve, how would I feel? This will help you find your why and your ultimate goal. When you’re going through your list it will be easier to put activities on the Do Not Do List if you have a strong purpose and goal in mind.


Keep your sights set on where you want to go. At the clearing at the end of the rapids. Don’t look at the rapids and the obstacles in your way, those are things that go on the Do Not Do List. By focusing on goals and eliminating distractions we are more successful.