On writing and productivity: do you have a Not-To-Do list?
It’s not that I don’t love my work. Because I do. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I felt this excited. It seems everyone wants to write and publish a book. And Voxie Media is stirring up the secret sauce that empowers up-and-coming business authors to write, publish and promote *short* terrific eBooks.
Stay tuned for updates about new products and programs we’re launching this summer. They will range from affordable group coaching to higher-priced packages where I work with authors intensively 1-on-1.
So what’s with Monday morning inertia? In the spirit of productive procrastination I decided to consult a few of my favorite sources on the inverse topics of productivity and procrastination.
Zen blogger Leo Babauta says take one small step to get started.
Life coach Martha Beck talks about playing halvsies until your goal is ridiculously easy to attain. I.e. keep breaking your goal into smaller and smaller do-able pieces.
Publishing expert Jane Friedman uses Post-It notes to break up the week’s tasks by day.
But the inimitable Tim Ferriss might have the best solution for a Monday morning, whether you’re trying to write something or just get down to work. He calls it the Not-To-Do list. Similarly, Good to Great guru Jim Collins calls it a Stop Doing List.
I thought about that for a while, as it relates to Mondays, and here’s what I came up with for my personal Not To Do on Monday AMs List.
My Monday morning Not-To-Do List
- Do not be productive. As defined by accomplishing specific tasks. Instead, schedule Monday mornings as thinking and business strategy time. That’s what I usually feel like doing. So why not go with it, instead of labeling this inclination as avoidance.
- Do not structure your time too tightly. Instead, revel in being unstructured for a couple of hours. Label it creative regeneration instead of time wasting.
- Do not sit down at the *!!*!#* computer to check email. Email and how to deal with it figures prominently on Tim’s list.
- Do not finish writing a blog post. Starting is OK. Mindmapping a new post with pencil and paper is permissible.
- Do not spin your wheels flagellating yourself. Instead, meditate for 10 minutes or longer to clear the mind and shake off negative feelings. Google’s Chade-Meng Tan has just published a terrific book, Search Inside Yourself, that tells you exactly how to do this.
I’m reading the excellent Your Brain At Work by David Rock. It provides an understandable scientific explanation for what makes your brain distracted and then offers real life examples (using two personas, Emily and Paul) for how to be more productive.
What’s on your Not-To-Do List?
I’d love to hear.
Photo credit: Emilie Ogez