Want Greater Work-Life Balance? You Need to Create a “Not-To-Do” List

Want Greater Work-Life Balance? You Need to Create a “Not-To-Do” List
September 27, 2017 Linda Murray

In the past, I’ve talked a lot about how creating greater work-life balance is a must to prevent burnout and increase performance. I’ve also discussed how this is especially challenging for professional women to achieve as they are often the primary caregiver in their families. As female executives, it naturally follows that we face enormous pressure and drain on our energy levels because we are responsible for so many tasks at both home and work.

Today I am going to share one of my secrets for lightening your workload to help you get more of the tasks accomplished which are important to you. Rather than cramming more activities into your already busy schedule each day, you will achieve greater work-life harmony and reclaim your sanity by creating a not-to-do list.

When Work Remains Incomplete

Most of us have a list of work that we would like to accomplish each day. Generally, there are several tasks on this list we never quite get to. These tasks typically roll forward to the next day, and so-on, remaining undone for the long term.

While this is a common practice, it’s also a demoralising one that can leave us feeling de-energised. It’s also a practice that, in the long-term, can affect performance.

Deciding Which Tasks Go on Which List

A better practice is to really think about the work that you want to accomplish each day. Before you list an item on your regular to-do list, ask yourself, why you want to complete the task.

Does it matter if you are the specific person that completes the work? Is it a task where you can make a true impact, or is there a more effective way to achieve your goal?

If it’s a task that someone else can complete, place it on your “Not-To-Do List” instead of assigning it to yourself!

What Else Should Go on My Not-To-Do List?

Additional tasks you should move to your Not-To-Do List include any task that leaves you feeling drained or that you can’t reasonably complete on the assigned day given your current workload.

Additional Tips for Creating Reasonable To-Do Lists

In addition to creating to-do and Not-To-Do List lists, always prioritise which items are the most important for you to accomplish each day. Before you hand off items on your Not-to-Do list for others to complete, always question whether it’s a legitimate task. Be on the lookout for unique ways to achieve your goal that don’t require direct action or your part, or the part of others.

On your to-do lists, don’t forget to schedule time each day to recharge, practicing good self-care and focusing on personal development. This will help you to de-stress and provide you with the energy to be more productive!

During quiet times of introspection and reflection, be honest with yourself about why you have placed too many items on your to-do list in the past.

For many professional women, we overcommit because we feel guilty. Physically placing worry, and feeling guilty, on your Not-To-Do List can help remind you that you are worthy of the investment of time and effort it takes to have a whole life and a fulfilling career at work and home. You deserve happiness, and the ability to rest well so that you can achieve your peak performance!

Need help getting started with your to do lists? You can download our list template here!


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