Why Having “NOT To-Do List” Can Save You (Time)?

Hello SCG,

I trust you had a very pleasant Easter break & you are charged up for shipping your art. Today’s shipment is  a follow-up on the most recent Question Of The Week, where you were asked about your “NOT to – d0 list. You might have noticed, that I have given you a slight clue, that there is a story behind this question. Therefore, I want to share with you one true story connected with this theme & I will tell you reason, why knowing your “dont’s” can save you loads of time, when in doubt. Plus as a bonus I will share with you current 5 items on my own NOT to-do list. Cheers!

[True Story] When I Realized Importance of Knowing Your 

“NOT To – Do List”

Once upon a time in 2008, during my consulting career, I have been called in to participate on our firm’s management (CXOs + teamleaders) offsite meeting. They have been designing strategy & trying to figure out how to solve current issues, both internal (quarrels & ego driven fights) and external (problems on client’s sites), which our company faced. Management have been there for 2 days & I was invited only for a second day, when there was, wrap up of the output into “action plan”, on the agenda.

My work style during workshops is to sit quietly, listen a lot, listen to what all minds have to say, connect the dots & then ask one or two questions at the very very end. This was the case also on this session. After listening & being “invisible”, I have asked my CEO:

“All right, till now, we have been listing what we should do in the company. I would like you to tell us, what we should STOP doing?”

What followed was long silence & then dismissing my question with words:

“I will answer it, later.”

I totally understand his response, as I am aware of the fact, that articulating dont’s is not an easy task at all, but I believe it is much more effective to spend some more time on knowing your dont’s then blabbing about “to-do action plans”. How come? Read further, then.

Why Having “NOT To-Do List” Might Be Is Effective Tool  for You/Your Company

Why am I so confident, that aligning your actions with “NOT To-Do List” is more effective, faster & much easier to communicate (but not easier to put down in words, though) than sketching down “to-do list”?

Example of To-Do List vs. NOT To-Do List

To – Do:

  • Always listen carefully to clients.
  • Help clients generously with their inquiries
  • Have empathy in understanding of client’s needs.
  • Treat clients nicely, on a peer to peer base.
  • Have patience while communicating change.
  • Offer your clients help, even when it is “out of scope”.
  • etc.

NOT To – Do List

  • Don’t behave like a jerk!

I believe, now you got the point, why it is more effective to create a “NOT To-Do list”

[Bonus] #IS’s Current* NOT To – Do List Revealed

Note:*I am purposely underling adjective current, because as I have declared in the blog post about my “second birth”, I am very open to changing & shifting my paradigms during my life’s journey.

Here we go, check out my “NOT To – Do List” bellow or view it on Slideshare.


have you ever thought about employing NOT To – Do perspective into your actions? When was the last time, you have asked yourselves: “What should I stop doing?”, what was your answer to it?

Back to you now -> you know what to do;-)

See you in comments.



  1. sharmeen rafique says:

    I don’t have a NOT TO – DO LIST but thank you Ivana for realizing us the importance of having a NOT TO -DO LIST. I will write my Not To -Do List today without any delay.
    Thank you once again for such a nice shipment.

  2. well, I have to say this is a wonderful & inspiring post!

    Started thinking about my NOT to-do list & I quicky realised that I have several NOT do do rules in my head (which means I am trying to live by it every day)..

    1. DO NOT waste time that was given to you
    2. DO NOT refuse to help if anybody needs it
    2.b DO NOT help those, who don`t want to be helped
    3. DO NOT ever say that something is impossible = DO NOT give up!

    And the last one is not exactly a DO NOT (however it reminds me everyday, that you just have to continue in whatever the life prepares for you = again DO NOT give up):
    “This, too, shall pass.” Because everything is temporary – good or bad luck, material things, life, opportunities, misfortune.

    Love, z.

    • Whoa!
      Wonderful comment, super cool inspiring DON’Ts, Zuzu.
      Loads of love back at ya.
      P.S.: I shall see you on Sunday’s brunch!;-)

      • I am really looking forward to see you, my dear. After the stressfull period when I was so afraid that something happened to you, this will be a very happy reunion:)

        And of course, you will also meet other splendid people there, as EnglishCoffee is growing into a beautiful community of like-minded people:)

  3. I am feeling this blog post is just for me. I was thinking about this for many days. Now I have all answers.

    Thank you my dear. Now, I can make my not to do list easily and will share it with you too.

    Take care dear friend.

  4. Its nice and inspiring. You girls are doing a good job. I am a 60 old man but have never been able to control the kid in me, am wondering if he will listen to me.


  1. […] :: Inspiring Shipments (#IS) by Ivana Sendecka Inspires Remarkable Doers To Make A Difference In Their Worlds Skip to content Home:: ABOUT:: PROJECT “NGLS”:: Birth of NGLS Idea:: NGLS Team:: NGLS #2:: WHAT IS “SCG”:: GUESTSSrikumar RaoAdora SvitakTyler ShoresJim KouzesAlex Kjerulf:: I RECOMMEND:: Books I’ve Read:: Must See Videos:: Must Watch Movies:: Must Follow Blogs:: HIRE IVANA:: CONTACT ← Why Having “NOT To-Do List” Can Save You (Time)? […]

  2. […] I want to make it clear to myself, to stop doing few things. Which haven’t been very helping to me. The idea of Not To-Do List was introduced to my by my friend Ivana Sendecka, you can read her post about here. […]

  3. […] PS: for those interested, here’s a great post by Ivana Sendecka on Why Having “NOT To-Do List” Can Save You (Time). […]

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