Bitesize Lesson: Get Instant Clarity With a 'Not to Do' List

Overwhelmed by the multitude of tasks and goals? Navigate this sea of potential distractions by creating a not-to-do list.

Bitesize Lesson: Get Instant Clarity With a 'Not to Do' List
Photo by Mark Duffel / Unsplash

It's often said that startups don't starve, they drown. Overwhelmed by the multitude of tasks and goals, entrepreneurs can easily lose focus and become engulfed in activities that aren't truly important.

To navigate this sea of potential distractions, creating a not-to-do list can serve as a lifeline. By setting boundaries and defining what you shouldn't be doing, you empower yourself to concentrate on what genuinely matters.

This practice allows you to make meaningful progress both in your personal and professional life. With your not-to-do list acting as your compass, you can refocus on your vision and goals.

This newfound clarity enables you to prioritise tasks that align with your values, bringing you significantly closer to your objectives.

But how can you implement this prioritisation tool in your working life?

Watch the video explainer next, or jump straight to the step-by-step guide below.


Find a quiet space and gather your materials: pen and paper or a digital document.

Set a timer for five - ten minutes to focus on listing your "Time Wasters," "Energy Drainers" and "Obligations".

TIME WASTERS: These are activities that consume your time without contributing to your goals, such as mindless social media scrolling or browsing product websites.

ENERGY DRAINERS: List activities or tasks that leave you feeling exhausted and unproductive, such as certain projects, jobs, or administrative tasks like invoicing.

OBLIGATIONS: which are things you feel you "should" do but don't align with your vision or bring you joy. These could be daily social media posts, creating a content calendar, or attending unnecessary meetings.

Once your list is complete, identify potential solutions to eliminate, delegate, or automate these tasks.

For example, hiring a virtual assistant for social media management or using software to automate invoicing.

Or you may want to think about how these help you reposition your current service offering (e.g. "I don't work IN a client's business day-to-day, I support the leadership team and give them the confidence/skills/tools to do the implementation)

Embrace the Power of 'No'

Creating a 'not-to-do' list is more than just a tactical move - it's a strategic decision that lets your startup swim instead of sink.

This tool sets clear boundaries, empowering you to concentrate on what's truly important and make meaningful progress, both personally and professionally.

Remember that every 'not' on your list is a step towards a clearer vision, better alignment with your core values and a significant leap towards achievement.