The DO-NOT-DO List

Jan 24

Tear up your TO DO list right now —and replace it with a                    DO-NOT-DO List.

No really. It’s important for your mental health.

RusselHairIn Get Him To The Greek, Russell Brand says that the great thing about doing drugs is that you only have one thing on your TO DO list: Get drugs. And while the man might also consider making a note to pick up some nice conditioner (Get Him To The Gel!), his point was well taken, and it got me thinking.

About TO DO Lists, and the tyranny thereof.

Although I’d never suggest anything more addictive than a few martinis for medicinal purposes, having only one thing on your TO DO list sure beats dealing with the wretchedly long lists the rest of us face each and every day.

The only good thing about TO DO lists is the perverse pleasure of checking off an item you’ve completed. I like that part. In an obsessive-compulsive sort of a way. But it’s cold comfort, really, because you never, ever get to check everything off, and that leads to the question, What the hell did I do today?

My friend Sarah says that nobody ever completes more than 80% of their list, no matter how simple or difficult the items are. She’s right. I have put “Wash hair” or ” Check the weather” on the list some days, just to give myself something to cross off, but it doesn’t help. I get 80% done, if I’m lucky.

So, if you don’t want to turn to narcotics, there’s only one solution:

Make a DO-NOT-DO list.

IT’S EASY . . .

Think of things you’re not going to do today, or possibly ever, and write them down.

The list can include broad issues like:
• I will not discover the meaning of life (we can safely assume that won’t happen any time soon).

Or specific actions like:
*I won’t go to the Post Office and I will not Go Postal:
This is a good one because you have two choices: you can either not go to the PO, or you can go there and not Go Postal. If that’s possible.

Best of all, are outright impossibilities such as:
I will not grow my hair 3 inches today. Cross that one off immediately.

My own personal list includes such goodies as . . .
•I will not clean out The Drawer From Hell in the kitchen. (A little clutter never hurt anyone.)
•I will not believe the guy at the all-night deli who says that the flowers are fresh when they look wilted. (Long sentences like this are satisfying to cross out.)
•I will not try to understand the book I am allegedly reading called The Twenty-Seventh City. (Maybe a second reading will bring comprehension, but that’s something I will not do today.)

Now make up your very own                                           DO NOT DO List.
Unless that’s too much to do . . .

Go on, it’s fun.

•You won’t call your sister-in-law.
•You won’t clean out the hall closet.
•You won’t go to the gym, the dentist, make your will, or file your taxes.

Then, at the end of the day, you get to check off all the things you haven’t done.
And make another DO-NOT-DO list for tomorrow.

DoNothingListYou could resort to the dreaded TO DO list, with only one word on it: “Nothing.” But that’s not as much fun.

And while it may be become habit-forming, the DO NOT DO list does not involve the use of actual drugs, which do have all those nasty side effects, although we won’t go into that lest we raise the possibility of having to add “I Will Not Become Bitter” to our list.

Contrary to popular wisdom, here’s something you’ll like that is neither immoral, illegal or fattening.

Let me know how this works out for you.

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