Embracing the To Don’t List

My business coach gave me a seemingly simple task this weekend: Do Nothing.

It sounds counterproductive, especially coming from a business coach, but I’m a hustler by nature and I have a serious case of hustler FOMO.

an aggressively enterprising person; a go-getter.

My hustle origins stem mostly from childhood wounds of hearing I wasn’t good enough nor would ever be good enough. Desperate to prove the bullies wrong, I evolved into an overachiever who worked hard at everything. My tendency to go above and beyond is as natural to me as breathing.

Overachievers tend to evolve into hustlers, and my hustle game is strong. I have a vision of where I want to be and what I want to do and I can picture with vivid clarity the kind of boss lady I’m going to be. I know the business I want to run and I know exactly what it would be called, who it would serve, and how it would serve them. But what I don’t have is the seed money to kickstart my dream into a reality. Enter hustler FOMO.

To make my vision into a reality, I need to build up what is now my side business, which means I need more clients and more opportunities, which means I need more time. I already have a day job that is pretty consuming as it is. To give the creative side of me a little time to exercise itself, I also dabble in comedy, improv, and creative writing. On the rare occasions I have a free night to visit with friends, I try to do so while I simultaneously recharge my mental batteries. Regardless, I still wind up falling into bed completely exhausted.

Even when I’m out with friends, my mind is on what opportunities exist that I can suggest my business. Does the establishment we were at need marketing help? Did someone say they wanted to learn how to be more confident with their conversations? My ladyfriends need help standing up to the d-bag that did them wrong? Another business idea is born….Moxy by Proxy to the rescue!!!!!!

My brain rarely turns off and it’s gotten out of hand. My case of hustler FOMO is so bad that my body and brain power are sitting at about 3% right now.

Enter the advice to do nothing.

Doing nothing technically means I shouldn’t hustle this weekend, so this blog post is more creative joy-bringing than it is empowerment, but the idea of going all il dolce far niente made me think about something I’d read about recently. I thought I’d give my own a try and post it while I was at it.

I will. I won’t. I do. I don’t.

A friend and former colleague had posted on LinkedIn about having a To Don’t list. Rather than setting you up with tasks to accomplish, a To Don’t list is a set of ideas, principles, thoughts, notions, etc. of what you refuse to feel guilty about not doing. Being the little rebel that I am, my To Don’t list laughs a bit at my slightly more traditional and ‘proper’ upbringing roots.

This weekend’s To Don’t list includes:

  • I won’t feel guilty for not answering the text messages from family or friends right away
  • I won’t feel guilty for not responding to emails
  • I won’t text any co-workers
  • I won’t touch my work e-mail…until Monday morning
  • I won’t feel negligent for not posting on or checking LinkedIn
  • I won’t feel bad for doing my own thing this weekend and not seeing family
  • I won’t feel like a recluse for not going to the outdoor events or festivals this weekend
  • I won’t apologize for binge-watching Designing Women

Longer term, my To Don’t list is a bit more robust

  • I won’t bring a dish or a food to pass to your big event
  • I won’t pay money to attend your big house party/event
  • I won’t bring a host/hostess gift
  • I won’t participate in the gift exchange, especially for people I rarely talk to
  • I won’t keep you around on social media if we rarely talk
  • I won’t second guess my decision to call out BS
  • I won’t hesitate to question when something doesn’t make sense
  • I won’t stay quiet or suppress my opinion to be a ‘good girl’
  • I won’t apologize for being ambitious
  • I won’t feel guilty that I don’t work out every day
  • I won’t own other people’s problems

This list isn’t finished, but my brain does feel slightly lighter for having created it.

Want to kick start your own To Don’t list? I made a PDF to get you started: To Don’t List

To Don’t List Help

If you want a little bit more help on kickstarting your own To Don’t list, check out the following resources:

embrace your todont list

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