My Most Important List Is The One I Don’t Need To Make…What NOT To Do!

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  • I’ve never understood anyone who does not make a to-do list. It’s the simplest of documents that both focuses the mind and makes you do the things that need to be done when they need to be done – whether you like it or not!

    The sort of things that go on a to-do list are the things that slip through the net, but because they have a time limit they have to be done…now!

    Post a birthday card, call the bank, book the dog ino the vet, return a parcel, etc. There it is in black and white. What must be done, by you.

    Just by having the things written down, you automatically get the great pleasure of crossing them off, recognising the small achievement of doing it. It’s like giving yourself a pat on the back. Good job. Move on.

    But the most important list of all is the one you don’t need to make. I call it the “what not to do” list.

    Make my own pastry

    Why? When Jus-Rol makes it so much better than me? Truth is, if a task can be done reliably and better by someone else, why do it yourself? Keep your own time to do the things someone else can’t do.


    No one ever thanks you. Everyone moans that things are still wrinkled and, if you iron anything for your kids, it’s likely you’ll find it screwed up on the floor of their bedroom just 20 minutes after you’ve finished ironing it!

    Take the bins out

    I have not done this for 15 years. Bins, filling the car up with petrol, recycling…this is all men’s work. In the same way lighting candles is women’s work. And that’s that.

    Get the kids to tidy their room

    My son has a room-tidy blindness. He thinks his room is tidy when only half the contents of his wardrobe are on the floor. My daughter, on the other hand, just scoops everything up from the floor and shoves it into the back of her wardrobe. Asking them to clean their rooms 1% likely, but 99% of the time I have to listen to complaining. I know when to give up!

    Life goals

    These are too precious to be sandwiched betwen “pick up toothpaste” and “take the rubbish out”. You might as well write on a piece of paper: “Get up. Survive. Go back to bed.” Hold your life goals mentally and use them to motivate everything you do. There is a saying that if you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done. No list will help you achieve that.

    Bungee jumping

    This does not appeal to me at all. To be honest, neither does swimming with sharks. Or going in a hot-air balloon. Or doing a skydive. Or eating frogs’ legs. I could, but I won’t. I’m too old for new thrills!

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