I recently read a great post on a parenting blog called “3 Children and It”, where Suzanne recommended writing a “To Don’t List”.
It was a revelation to me. I am forever writing “To Do Lists”, but had never heard of the opposite sort. A “To Don’t List” should serve as a reminder to focus your priorities where it really matters. It makes perfect sense to acknowledge those things we don’t need to do, can’t be arsed with or should really avoid. By deciding what not to do, it frees up time and space to tackle the important things.
So I’ve written my own “To Don’t List”. These are the things I think life is just too short to bother about and those I need to feel less guilty about not having the time (read: inclination) to sort. I’ve also included a few things I do that I shouldn’t – after all, I do want to get organised and become tidier so there are some lazy habits I need to shake.
MY TO DON’T LIST
1. Make the bed. I hate changing the sheets on our massive bed with its heavy Tempur mattress. It takes my much taller and stronger husband half the time to do it, so this is one chore I can save entirely for him. Play to your strengths, people!
2. Watch a soap opera ever again. Until last year I watched most of the soaps. Somehow I got out of the habit and it is liberating having those extra hours in the evening. I love not knowing if Phil Mitchell is banged up, drunk, a junkie or dead.
3. Iron knickers, towels or sheets. Much to my Mum’s disapproval, I definitely think life is too short to iron towels or bed-sheets (unless she’s coming to stay!). I’m also pretty confident that my knickers are perfectly hygienic without giving the gusset a good blast with a steam iron – regardless of what Mum says.
4. Lie in past 9am. Although I can count on one hand the amount of nights my son has slept all the way through until a civilised hour over the past three years, I have learnt that annoyingly lie-ins and me don’t mix. If I ever get a lie-in I wake up feeling groggy, guilty and worse than if I’d been awake since 6am. In the future I’m going to politely decline any rare offer of a lie-in, but suggest a child-free afternoon instead. Bliss.
5. Eat after 7pm. Since starting to eat earlier with my son, I have realised how much healthier I feel when I don’t eat late. It is so much better for your digestion, and frees up the evening too. On the days I’m in late from work, I make myself a light snack and try to avoid carbs. I also never want to get into the habit of cooking more than one meal for the family, sounds like far too much hassle.
6. Aimlessly surf the web. I can lose hours checking out Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, news sites, forums. Now I try to use the internet with more focus. I only read news sites when I’m having breakfast, use Pinterest in the evening and have been setting an online time limit to focus my attention when I’m on social media. Avoiding using my laptop (other than to use Microsoft Office) or iPad during my days off is working for me too and I can use my iPhone to check things quickly.
7. Spend all day in my pyjamas. Don’t worry – I’m not that woman who goes to Tescos in her slippers and I don’t do the school run in my nightie! But I find I get so much more done if I have a shower, get dressed, do my hair and make up as soon as I get up.
8. Turn the TV on as soon as I enter the room. This is such a bad habit and distraction, and one that really robs me off time. With Sky+ (or similar hard-disc recording system), I don’t have an excuse to have the TV on unless I have the time to sit and watch a particular programme.
9. Prioritise boring chores over family time. My husband works long hours and is often away during the week, so our weekends are precious as it is the only time we get to have fun as a unit. Inevitably there are jobs, housework and chores that we need to do at the weekend, but I want to get organised during the week, so that we can relax all together as much as possible.
I really recommend writing your own “To Don’t List”, it’s could be a way to acknowledge unproductive behaviour, lose the guilt and stop putting pressure on yourself. Thanks again to Suzanne on the “3 Children and It” blog!