The Not-To-Do List: How to Achieve More by Doing Less

What you don’t do determines what you can do.

Dan Silvestre


I used to think that a to-do list was the most important list you should make to be more productive. Today, I know that’s not true. The most effective tool for productivity is the not-to-do list.

Let me explain:

Life does a good job of teaching us that to achieve more, you should do more.

And so our days become one long battle of trying to complete endless to-do lists.

But what if we’re wrong?

What if the secret to ramping up your productivity isn’t addition, but subtraction? What if you focus on minimizing the negatives instead of maximizing the positives?

Let’s be real:

We all have limited time and energy. The only way to have more time for what really matters is by cutting unnecessary busy work.

The most successful people I know have a narrow focus. They protect themselves against time-wasters and say no to almost everything.

So instead of taking on more work, you need to consider what you might stop doing.

Because here’s the truth:

What you don’t do determines what you can do.

And the best way I’ve found to decide what you won’t do is using a not-to-do list.

Your not-to-do list will help you:

  • Prioritize your tasks better
  • Manage your time more efficiently
  • Free up more time for activities that bring you happiness
  • Reduce stress
  • Break bad habits
  • Improve productivity in the long run

Here’s how to create your not-to-do list.

What is a Not-To-do List?

A not-to-do list is like a list of things you’re deciding not to do.

These are the tasks that don’t match your goals, drain your energy, or zap your



Dan Silvestre

Performance coach helping leaders get the right things done with less effort than anything they've tried before. Join 20k+ readers: