The ‘To Don’t’ List…

I know I’m not the only one who spends a little too much time perusing social media. I also know that I have this odd attachment to emails, checking them every few minutes (yes, minutes) to make sure I haven’t missed the world ending or a notification that hooray! I’ve just won the lottery.

But when I really realised I had a problem was when little, everyday things like going to the toilet or brushing my teeth suddenly became boring. I needed stimulation SITTING ON THE LOO! OK, I officially needed help.


When did my life become so virtual? When Alex and I were wandering around the world I would check my emails once a week and we didn’t even have a mobile phone. Instead we’d be out exploring, dreaming, learning and not even thinking about this other world that exists side-by-side with reality. That’s really what’s happening, isn’t it? There’s REAL life and then there’s our virtual life, and slowly it seems my virtual life is strangling my here and now.

But that’s all about to change with my new friend, the ‘To Don’t’ list.

Normally I don’t like to focus on negatives, nor do I like restrictions. But tough times call for serious action. So, while I will continue to have my daily To Do list, filled with all sorts of tasks and work-related jobs that need tending to, I’ll also have my To Don’t list, to gently sift through my priorities and break this meshing of virtual vs reality. But while we all know it’s a list of things not to do, I’m going to phrase it in a way that talks to the positive side of my brain, so you know, I actually listen and enjoy and come to like the thing.

Here’s roughly what it’s going to look like today…

Yoohoo, Yaz. Let’s remember to be mindful of these distractions today and focus on…

– Checking emails only twice a day, instead of every few minutes. Much more productive that way.

– Sticking to one task at a time. Sure, you’re superwoman and are a mad multitasker, but let’s just focus on One. Thing. At. A. Time.

– That twitching you get on the loo when you’re needing stimulation in the form of FB or Twitter or Instagram or Fruit Pop! isn’t normal. Chill out and take a few minutes for yourself.

– Waking up and leaning over to check your emails first thing in the morning probably isn’t the best way to start the day. Why not try a few deep breaths and a stretch instead, and wait at least 30 minutes before picking up your phone.

– You didn’t enter the lotto, so it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to win. Plus, if the world was ending I don’t think you’d get notified via email. In fact, only about 2% of emails you get are urgent, the other 500,000 can wait a few hours. It’s OK to keep people waiting for longer than 5 minutes, they’re not going to hate you for it.

Phew! That feels good. Actually writing down all the quirks of my daily life is cathartic. From now on, I’m going to focus on checking into myself rather than checking my emails.

Tell me Happies…

Do you need a To Don’t List?
What would be on yours?

Stay Happy,

Yaz xx



  1. Emma · February 14, 2013

    Thank you Yaz. I’m going to print this out and stick it on the mirror as it’s a perfect to-don’t list for me! I often check my emails in the middle of the night and let’s face it, I’m teaching yoga/barre – not saving lives. When I worked as a Brand Manager at Bonds, my gorgeous boss used to say “we’re making ads for undies, not saving lives.”

    As always, love you and your blog.

  2. Coco · February 14, 2013

    Excellent post Yaz! I like the fact that these “to don’t”s are so simple and achievable whilst contributing immensely to overall well-being.

    @Emma, it’s so funny you should mention that phrase! My own manager said to me “We’re selling cosmetics, not saving lives” which I had never heard before but it’s a good saying that I think more people should be… saying! 🙂

  3. Sindhu · February 14, 2013

    The “To Don’t” list is excellent. We don’t even stop and think how consumed we are with our smartphones and emails and Facebooks and Twitters. They basically run our lives… but they don’t have to. We need to make that conscious decision to lower them on our list of priorities. Of course, easier said than done, but when they are broken down into the type of simplistic points you have listed here, they actually seem do-able! 🙂

    • Tess Ross · February 14, 2013

      I’ve come to the same conclusion today Yaz. Amazing isn’t it? Time to do some living …

  4. Yaz Trollope · February 15, 2013

    Gorgeous comments, everyone. Thank you! I is so hard isn’t it. The good news is that today I didn’t follow my usual morning ritual of emails and social media scanning the second I woke up, I waited half an hour. I’m also only checking my emails in batches. So far, so good. Yx

  5. Evalyn Legried · February 16, 2013

    Yaz, this topic totally resonated with me. While overseas I decided to ‘cut the stimulus’. I found myself needing to take my phone and/or iPod to keep me entertained on the walk to the supermarket/ride the subway/go snowboarding. How silly! Being in such a foreign country, a walk to the supermarket is meant to be the entertainment! Now that I’m back home, I’ve tried to keep the stimulus to a low. We live in such a beautiful and unique country, why keep searching for more?

  6. memybestandi · February 22, 2013

    THIS! My hubby gets so annoyed with me for checking my phone al the time. I do the morning check too, you are right so not healthy

  7. Smartphone Applications · July 17, 2013

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