We all have endless to-do lists, but what about a to-don’t list, the things that you intentionally don’t do throughout the day?
25 Things I DON’T Do Every Day
In this episode, I’m sharing my list of the 25 things that I don’t do every day with you so that you can look at how you’re spending your time and energy and either make different choices or lean into the choices that you’re already making.
The inspiration for this episode came from a discussion that I keep seeing online about being intentional with not only the things you say yes to, but also the things that you say no to.
As we go into this to-don’t list, think about taking what you need and leaving what you don’t (across the board, not just with this list!)
We have to stop viewing everything through this lens of comparison and not being enough.
The things I DON’T do every day
1 | Use comparison as my driver.
Instead of deciding what I am and am not going to do based on what other people are doing, I really try to connect it to my feel good.
Is this something I even care about?
Is it related to what’s important to me in my life?
Is it important to my family?
2 | Perfectionism.
I never try to view my routine through the lens of perfection. Ever.
It’s not the goal and it’s not the point.
And of course, no day is perfect.
3 | Going all or nothing when it comes to my day.
I love the idea of big no’s, but what I found is that it’s the little, tiny no’s that actually make the difference.
No to that third cup of coffee.
No to that extra volunteer position that I don’t have time for.
No to going out on a weeknight when I’m just really tired.
4 | Using my phone as an alarm clock.
My phone gets plugged in in a totally different room and I actually don’t touch it until well after breakfast.
It’s another thing that comes from asking myself, “does this contribute to me feeling good, mind, body, and soul?”
It’s not about perfectionism, comparison, or all or nothing thinking.
Looking at my phone in the morning didn’t work for me, but if it does for you, don’t worry too much about it.
5 | Jump right into taking care of everybody.
I say no to taking care of everyone else right when I jump out of bed.
I get up earlier so I can practice my five minute morning routine, and lately, I’ve also been doing some at-home working out.
I spend a little time filling my own cup.
6 | Wash my hair every day.
All of these things may seem trivial, but they’re all ways that I know I could be spending my energy where I choose not to.
I do take a shower, but I don’t wash my hair every day.
Instead, I use dry shampoo
7 | Eat breakfast right away (or not eat breakfast).
I ask myself when I am hungry and then I have breakfast ready to go for when I am, which really isn’t the first thing in the morning for me.
I don’t skip breakfast, though; I just found that I needed to move the time a little bit further into the day.
8 | Blow-dry my hair.
Even though I have really long hair and it can take a while to dry, I didn’t feel like it was worth my time.
9 | Spend more than 5 minutes on a makeup routine.
I do wear some makeup; I find that for me it just makes me feel good and it changes the way I approach my day.
But I don’t spend a lot of time on it.
It’s not something I love doing, so it’s something I simplified and streamlined.
10 | Have a huge variety of outfits.
Decision fatigue is real and having a template for clothes just made things easier.
That means I don’t do a ton of accessories and I basically just do a mix-and-match for outfits so that I’m not wearing the same thing every day but also where I’m not having to think so much about it.
For some people, fashion is nourishing and accessories are self-expressive.
This is just what works for me.
11 | Have more than two cups of coffee in the morning (and I keep it black)
I have found through much experimenting that putting anything in my coffee wasn’t making me feel good.
It was a really hard transition, but investing in high-quality coffee and making it with a french press taught me to love straight-up black coffee.
I also used to just drink coffee throughout the day and when I cut it back I noticed a huge difference in my energy and anxiety.
12 | Check my email first thing and keep my email open all day.
This was a huge shift for me and there are still days where this is not the case.
If I’m working on a project or I’m working with clients who I think will have questions, I’ll pop my email open and do a quick scan for anything that looks urgent.
But I found that checking my email first thing in the morning was really a form of procrastination for me.
Email feels productive and I felt like I was getting something done, but I was suffering from not getting the actual work done.
Bonus: for work, I have a list of three things a day that are the big things to work on, and I don’t do email until those things get done.
13 | Open social media until after noon.
This has also been a huge transition for me, and again, maybe you love looking at social media in the morning.
Maybe it’s a way to connect and fill your cup, but it was not for me.
I’m kind of embarrassed of how hard this one was to change my habits around.
Check out this episode with Kathryn Price for a ton of tips on how to break up with your phone.
I just realized that for me, a couple things were happening by opening social media:
1 | There was always something personally negative in there, whether that was a rude comment or a message that wasn’t nice.
It comes with the territory and it’s not a big deal, but having that in my head first thing in the morning was clouding my whole day and making me resentful about my job.
2 | I also just found that I was distracted from my work.
I’ll open social media in the afternoons to share to my Instagram story and respond to comments, but protecting my mornings has allowed me to be more focused, more productive, and feel really good.
I still get the benefits and it’s not an all or nothing where I had to quit social media altogether.
14 | Skip or eat out for lunch (generally).
When you run a business it’s easy to skip lunch or convince yourself that you don’t have time, but I always try to examine that when I tell myself that.
If I don’t have time to feed myself lunch, then I need to rethink what I’m doing with my days.
Listen here for tips on prepping lunch.
It’s usually pulling something out of the freezer and heating it up quickly, or it’s a protein salad.
It’s not complicated, but it’s nourishing and it keeps me going through the rest of the day.
It was harder when I worked in an office to not eat out for lunch, but I just found that it’s not where I want to spend my money or my splurge meals.
15 | Caffeine after noon.
It was a super hard habit for me to break, I used to love diet coke in the afternoon.
But now, even a small amount of caffeine in the afternoon affects my sleep and it took me so long to figure it out.
Research shows that people metabolize caffeine differently, though, and there are people who can drink caffeine after dinner and sleep fine.
But I do find with clients who are having trouble sleeping and who are having a cup of coffee at around 3 or 4 PM don’t put those together because they aren’t having caffeine right before bed, but plenty of caffeine can still be in your system hours later.
16 | Pick up Elle every day after school.
I know plenty of work-at-home parents and online entrepreneurs that do pick their kids up right after school, but I take the help with childcare.
I want to be with her, but I also don’t want to be rushing to get everything done.
So the compromise is that we do a little bit of after-school care, which is absolutely a privilege.
I don’t pick her up and I don’t feel bad about using childcare in that I want to be able to get my work done when she’s not here which allows me to be a better parent for her.
17 | Do a lot of after school activities.
It’s getting harder– Elle is in 2nd grade now and we’re getting a lot of pressure from other people to do after school activities.
She’s never been super into it, so we made the decision not to do them.
I’m sure that, in time, we will adjust that, but for now this is something we don’t do.
18 | Be 100% present with Elle when I pick her up from childcare.
There’s a pressure to be present with your family 100% of the time, but I’ve also found that because of not doing email and social media very much during the day that there’s some cleanup that I do after I pick her up.
But I talk to her about it, about mama’s job and what it means when I have my phone out.
It’s a balance that we’ve found right now, so I don’t practice 100% presence when I pick her up or when Andrew comes home.
It just works better than trying to cram everything into the time that they’re not home.
19 | Overcomplicate dinner.
I’ve done quite a few shows on meal prep and meal planning.
I try to follow a very simple template using the essential six.
As long as we’re eating some kind of essential six, I’m good.
20 | Do the dishes.
This is definitely a privilege– I don’t do the dishes, Andrew does the dishes.
It’s a trade-off we agreed on years ago: if one of us cooks dinner, the other one does the dishes.
21 | Have my phone after 8:30 PM.
8:30 PM is my hard cut-off.
I put it in the other room and once it’s there it’s done.
It allows me to be present and not distracted by my phone.
22 | Hang out downstairs for too long.
I used to love reading books or turning on the TV and hanging out downstairs, but I found that by the time I went upstairs and got ready for bed, I was going to bed too late to get up at 6 AM.
We’ve transitioned to getting Elle in bed, and then heading upstairs to get ready for bed as well, even though we aren’t going to bed yet.
The small shift has allowed us to move our bedtime a little earlier so we can get up earlier.
23 | Have an elaborate bedtime routine.
I do wash my face and I have a couple of BeautyCounter products that I use, but I aim for simplicity.
24 | Skip my gratitude journal.
I don’t have a long journaling process and I don’t meditate, but I do write down three things that I’m grateful for every single night that I just keep in my gratitude journal.
25 | Watch scary or intense TV.
There are so many great shows out there right now, but I just found that some of the more intense shows affect my sleep.
The trade-off is that I can’t watch these exciting shows and talk about them with other people, but I fall asleep easier and I sleep better.
More on the Essential Six: Simplified Guide to Meal Prep and Planning
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