The Monthly Goalpost for June: The Don’t List

awesomeGoals! Goals! Goals! Having goals is a good thing. They help you pursue your passions and keep you focused. Sometimes our goals generate TO DO lists. Sometimes these lists get out of hand, generating sub-lists that never seem to get done. One list I’ve never written is a DON’T list but now I think it may be just as important to note what I shouldn’t do as much as what I need to do.

Here’s an example:


– turn on your computer first thing in the morning;

– turn on your internet connection until you’ve spent time writing and drawing;

– check email, facebook, twitter every time you get to a hard part in a project;

– do every little task on the TO DO list before getting to the big, important, goal-advancing item;

– think you can’t take a walk or go to the gym until you’ve accomplished everything on your TO DO list;

– worry about perfection as much as doing.

How’s that for a start?

can't believeGo online later in the day. Put off checking email until later in the day and see that nothing bad happens— no urgent message that needed immediate attention went unread. “No-internet” days can be beneficial: take time away without losing contact with the world. Everything will still be there later!

It’s easy to be fooled that checking off items on the to-do list means the day’s been productive. It’s better to do one item that’s truly important rather than avoiding it by taking care of low-priority tasks.

Being determined to get something (anything!) done, can lead to spending too much time trying. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities like health, mental and physical well-being that comes from exercise and getting out of the workspace. It actually helps to set aside chunks of time for “other” things that aren’t goal related. Less work time means higher productivity while working— if a good balance is maintained. Good balance doesn’t mean watching I LOVE LUCY reruns for several hours then devoting one hour to goal-oriented work— get up and out!

Perfectionism can lead to stagnation. Work needs to be top-notch but knowing when it’s time to let go is important. Send your work out into the world: critique groups and critique partners will help you get it ready. Then move on.

What would you put on the “Don’t list”? Comment below. What have you got planned for June?
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23 thoughts on “The Monthly Goalpost for June: The Don’t List

Add yours

  1. YUp -every now and then I do the no computer until I’ve done at least some drawing or creating 1st. And then something happens and I’m back to seeing whats on the computer 1st. This is a hard one.


    1. Yes, Diane– it’s hard to maintain those good habits over time. It’s a constant struggle for me too.


  2. Ahh… you’ve perfectly captured what should be on my Don’t List. I find that if I skip the Internet first thing in the morning, I get a tremendous amount done. Beginning with it, it’s often midafternoon when I realize I’ve been on all day and accomplished nothing. Even worse, when deadlines are looming, Facebook and email somehow seem super-urgent, say, every ten minutes or so.

    Dana, I love your creative takes on goal-setting. You always come up with such fresh ideas.


  3. I read once that if you want to be productive, check email less often throughout the day, even if you rely on it for work (as I do). Once an hour or so is plenty. One of the biggest productivity-zappers is having notification open on your screen so that every time you get an email, you’re alerted.


  4. Thank you for this Dana! I’m following your great example and getting lots of writing stuff done today! Woohoo!


  5. I never turn my laptop off… Where does that leave me??? Don’t check Tweetdeck every ten minutes for new updates… Don’t keep editing as I write… Don’t sign in to facebook or WordPress or pinterest… I could go on and on…


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