Focus on What is Important in Life by Creating a Not To Do List!

Do you want to know what is important in life?  To be honest, there are very few things that matter in the end.

How much time, attention and energy do you have for your loved ones at the end of the day?

Who chooses what is important in life for you?

Your Time, Attention, & Energy are Your Greatest Nonrenewable Limited Resources!

What you focus on and pay attention to becomes your reality and your life.  So, be very selective about what you give your time, attention and energy to each day.

I would argue that making a not-to-do list is just as, if not more, important than making a to-do list.

Create a not-to-do list of all the things, events, habits, behaviors or people that you don’t enjoy, are obstacles to your goals, that drain your energy, or that leave you feeling unfulfilled, empty or are only mildly enjoyable.

For everything you come across during your day ask yourself:

Is this an obligation or something I need to do?

Do I truly love and enjoy this?

Do I feel drained or energized and excited after this?

Am I willing to sacrifice other activities for this?

Does this contribute to my most important relationships?

Does this help me get what I want?


Questions like these will help you to decide what is important in life to you personally.

It’s helpful to really look at how you spend your time on a daily basis.  If you are trying to do everything your relationships, career and aspirations will fail.

Anything that is nonessential, or doesn’t contribute significantly to your relationships, career, or goals in life, should be considered a barrier or obstacle that is standing in your way.  The bottom line is what you don’t do determines what you can do.

Decide What You Do most Often that is Not Truly Important To You

Is checking facebook fifteen times a day getting in the way of the things you really want?  For some people it is.  If surfing facebook for hours a day greatly contributes to your life, then maybe you should continue doing so.  But, if it’s something your just doing out of boredom or find only mildly enjoyable, you may want to consider putting it on your not-to-do list.

Here are some common things that people put on their not-to-do list:

  • Don’t check facebook or any social media several times a day.
  • Don’t complain about my significant other to coworkers, friends or family.
  • Don’t play mindless games.
  • Don’t watch television or limit myself to just a few shows I love.
  • Don’t check and send email constantly.
  • Don’t consume massive amounts of information that I can’t immediately use or take action on.
  • Don’t say ‘yes” to every request from family members or friends.
  • Don’t run a few errands here and there, batch them all together.
  • Don’t try to be everything to everyone.  Focus my time and attention on the most important 5 people in my life.
  • Don’t spend money on things I really don’t care about.


Making a not-to-do list is very personal and only you can decide what should be on your list.  The most important thing to remember is that your time, attention and energy are nonrenewable, limited resources.  If you’re spending these resources on one thing, they are not available for others.  It is helpful to identify what matters most to you so you can focus on those people, activities, events and habits and put everything else on your not-to-do list.

Say Yes to Love,

Dr. Michael Arn & Dr. Ashley Arn