When Lists Don’t Work

Generally speaking, a list is a good thing because…

When you write a list, it helps you focus. When you follow a list, it keeps you on track and moving toward list completion. And when you cross off list items, you feel productive.

And yet, despite proven results and positive qualities, lists don’t always work for everyone, every time because…

When you have to make a list, it means you have lots to accomplish. When you have lots to accomplish, you suddenly don’t want to do anything but sit on your couch, watch TV, and eat ice cream.

In other words, making a list is making you procrastinate. At this point, you’ve entered into a mind-game between your lazy self and your productive self, and your lazy self is winning!

If you find yourself in a similar situation, I encourage you to fight back by creating a “NOT To-Do” List to help you get organized.

The “NOT To-Do” List is exactly as the name implies; a list of things you do not want to do.

For example…

#1 The Not To-Do List for Housekeeping

  • Throw shoes by the front door
  • Let mail pile up on the kitchen counter
  • Forget to file bills at the end of month

#2 The Not To-Do List for Time Management


  • Hit the “snooze” button on the alarm more than once
  • Check email more than 2 times per day
  • Turn on TV while getting ready for work



With the “NOT To-Do” List, you’re giving your lazy self permission to be lazy while, at the same time, giving your productive self permission to get things done.

Carmen Coker is a former U.S. Air Force officer turned professional organizer and productivity expert. She provides organizing resources at http://www.carmencoker.com/.

Thank you Carmen!

Did you enjoy this article? Like it on Facebook and/or give it a cheer!




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *