There are many to-do lists out there describing what you should do to be more productive. There are many techniques you can follow and tools you can use to be more productive. Yet, the easiest way to gain focus and get things done is to avoid certain things. Below is a list of things you should stop doing that will help you be more productive.

Sometimes is hard to follow to-do lists, too much to do! but not-to-do lists are usually smaller and easier to follow. It allows you to identify bad habits and then spend more time doing productive things.

  1. Do not scan your email or social media accounts constantly.

    I can’t accentuate this enough. You need to get rid of this bad habit. Checking your email, and your social media accounts several times a day is counterproductive. It distracts you from the things you need to get done and implies that you are OK with interruptions. Setup autoresponders and don’t check these accounts more than two or three times a day. Focus on your tasks instead of responding to emails and tweets.

  2. Don’t accept meetings unless they have a clear agenda and end time.

    Don’t accept meeting invitations out of habit. Make sure the meeting has a clear goal and intention, and that you can contribute something to it. Meetings can be time-wasters, especially when the end time is not defined. Remember that most emails sent to you, are other people’s to-do items.

  3. Don’t consume content during working hours.

    Consuming media while trying to get things done, not a good idea. Avoid watching videos, and reading books and blogs while working. Focus and avoid multi-tasking. Having said this, don’t go on for long periods of time without taking a break, which is the next item in this list.

  4. Don’t work for extended periods of time.

    Often we believe working more time translates to productivity. It doesn’t. To the contrary, it affects productivity and can also cause burnout. You need to prioritize your time and tasks, if you don’t, then other people will do it for you. Working for long hours overwhelms all of us, find the most important things you need to do and get them done. In many cultures being a workaholic is seen as a positive thing, but it really isn’t as it is not sustainable.

  5. Don’t work with high maintenance customers.

    A clear path to failure is to try to please everyone. Identify which are the customers who complain the most while generating the least revenue. Is mentally and physically draining to deal with these type of customers. Identify the ones with unjustified complaints and consider firing them. More often than not, dealing with customers like that isn’t worth it.

Please share your own not-to-do list items and let’s all focus and be more efficient.

Below are a couple of books I highly recommend to help you learn to become more focused and feel accomplished at the same time.

The Power of Focus

Experience Curating: How to Gain Focus, Increase Influence, and Simplify Your Life

For other book suggestions checkout my bookshelf.