Changing “To Do” Lists Into “Don’t Do” Lists

Which list is longer?

Adelina Vasile
3 min readMar 22, 2022


Photo by Maklay62 on Pixabay

Are you, too, extremely productive at unproductive things, like I am?

I remember, growing up my father had this saying— “Don’t you worry today about anything you could do tomorrow. Until then, you might be able to postpone for the day after tomorrow, or not need to deal with it at all.”

He was joking, of course.

But I took it a bit too seriously, for like a big part of my life.

I would cheer myself up claiming I work better under pressure.

It didn’t help that my older sister was the one who put the “pro” into the word “procrastinator”.

Compared to her, I felt like I was rocking it.

I was in a “due tomorrow, do today” operation mode, while she was in a “do tomorrow — oh, crap, tomorrow was yesterday?” operation mode.

Then again, I guess we were just as reckless as our age allowed us to be.

Photo by Saydung89 on Pixabay

When the going got tough, and procrastinating looked a lot like risking my future, I have, of course, stepped up the game.

These days I focus on getting as little procrastination done in a day as possible.

Sometimes, I know what I need to do, but there are a million other things I’d rather do. That’s when I work with to-do lists.

Then, and that’s more often than not, there are a million things I need to do, and a couple of time wasters that keep tripping me. That’s when I pull out a “don’t do” list.

Say I want to write first thing in the morning… No need to put “Write 500 words before son wakes up” on my to-do list. Instead, I take out a post-it with “Don’t check any social media account before you write 500 words”.

Wouldn’t you say that writing to-do lists is yet another way to procrastinate? I mean yes, it helps you feel organized and like you have things under control. But are you?

We all know the big things we must take care of throughout the day. Anything that doesn’t involve…



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself. Check my Substack here >>