In the time of preparing lists of things and activities we want to commit ourselves to in the coming year, I’m encouraging you, my wise, conscious Readers, to make (and USE) a list of things you don’t have to do.
To do lists are useful tools. Doing new things, doing more things is great because it makes our ideas happen, it improves our environment, gives us fun or growth. But too much of this productivity, usefulness, growth, and effectiveness is as destructive as doing literally nothing is.
You probably agree that caring for your body is important: exercises, enough sleep, your skin care. But would you feel normal and good doing those thongs all the time? Probably no. You give a certain amount of your time every day for caring for your body. And in the rest of your time, you do other things, maybe even including eating crisps.
To keep the balance and not come to the point of totally burn-out, make a list of what you don’t have to do along with your to-do lists or New Year resolutions.
The list of things you don’t have to do
1 | You don’t have to iron your clothes.
My number one on the list of things you don’t have to do sounds not only rule-breaking but also impossible if you still live deep in the society’s schemes and expectations. But it’s what I and my family are doing for a few years now. Even in the times of having an offline business when we were going to our firm or to a business meeting with other companies – we went without ironing. Occasions like Christmas family gatherings, christenings, weddings – we mostly went without ironing.
And I’ve never heard from anyone – even from close people who could say me such comment – that any of us looks improper.
2018 almost ends and I end it with only two times when I ironed this year. Once in September (my, hubby’s and our younger son’s clothes) and the second time in November (hubby’s shirt).
What’s the secret of no ironing?
Rule #1: Think about it during shopping for clothes. For more detailed info, check my 8 Rules of Conscious Shopping.
Rule #2: Hang your clothes carefully after washing them so that the material is straightened without wrinkles.
A simple life is great!
Do you want to have a simple wardrobe not only in the number of items but also in terms of care they need? Read my article about how I choose clothes and maybe… you’ll never need to iron anymore.
2 | You don’t have to go shopping for anything except food, basic cosmetics, cleaning supplies or things that get damaged.
If it sounds radical to you, check my reasons why I’ve decided to do a Buy Nothing Experiment and the full explanation: Half a Year without Buying – Time to Start! Read also about the results of my experiments, the title of the article speaks for itself: Buy Nothing Experiment – Do You Also Want to Feel So Good?
Or get inspired by Cait Flander’s – who is one of just a few bloggers I follow – shopping ban.
What will you gain by avoiding useless shopping? More peace of mind, more time, more money, more space at home and in your closet, less tiredness, less stress, less decision making. Less regret. Less guilt.
3 | You don’t have to read the news or social media.
Ask yourself what you remember from all the information you read yesterday on your phone and computer. Can you answer the question at all?
If yes, ask yourself, do the information you’ve collected benefit you? Or stress you? Or was it just a waste of time?
Why. Do. You. Read.?
Aren’t many must-reads in reality just things you don’t have to do?
Read also: The Information Diet Experiment
4 | You don’t have to listen to music or to know the trendiest songs.
If you like listening to music, keep on doing it.
But it’s possible that you turn on the music at your home, in your car, in the garage, at work and while waiting for anything just because everyone does it. Maybe you do it unconsciously.
If you’ll discover that you listen to music automatically and not by choice, not by real need, try to go without it for a few days or hours.
I, for example, don’t listen to music. Really. One series of auditions and maybe 2-3 playlists is all I listen to. Sometimes. Not every day. Music isn’t turned on at my home all the time.
I just decided to not lose my attention, my mind’s capabilities, and my peace on things you don’t have to do – by listening to music that I don’t care about.
It’s just the same as if you don’t watch albums with great art every day. Probably you aren’t against art. It just isn’t your interest. You don’t give your time to such an activity.
I’ve written about my attitude towards music also in the article minimalist electronics about.
5 | You don’t have to charge your phone more often than once in 3 days.
When you’re not working on it, unstick yourself from your phone! Delete useless apps, turn off useless (= almost all) notifications, don’t check the phone every few minutes.
Look around, clean something, have a nap or go enjoy your life.
6 | You don’t have to cook complicated dishes.
Simple is the new black.
7 | You don’t have to cook at all.
Many things you don’t have to do live in the society’s mind and magazines suggestions. Be the perfect cooker! Surprise your significant other! Give health to your kids!
Hey, but let’s stop the madness and instead analyze some facts.
Almost all frying is unhealthy. Cooking and roasting remove many vitamins from the food.
Keep things simple.
You can go vitarian or fruitarian and eat only real, raw food.
8 | You don’t have to buy and throw away paper towels and tissues.
One of my New Year resolutions is to use home-made, natural cleaning products for as many areas as I can find good recipes. I’ve already prepared a laundry powder and dishwasher powder.
9 | You don’t have to worry.
Worrying has no benefits. It also steals our time and leads to more negativity. If you don’t like a situation, you have three choices except worrying. You can change it (ACT!), you can learn to accept it or you can start to like it.
More about how to cure worrying by my favorite Courtney Carver:
10 | You don’t have to give your time to other people’s priorities.
Add it to your list of things you don’t have to do in the office and in the family as well!
Be helpful but don’t forget about yourself. Saying yes to every request will lead you to nowhere.
If you want to give your time to others, recognize how much time other people give to you.
I was the person who always said yes to every help request. This is why I had to write this article: What to Do When You Give Too Much of Yourself.
11 | Maybe you don’t have to check your email daily.
Take some quiet time to review what comes to your inbox. Unsubscribe from newsletters that you’re no longer interested in. Create filters (recipe to go to trash) for messages that keep coming but don’t include the magic unsubscribe option.
Look at the rest of the messages. Are they really important or urgent?
What would happen if you’s start to check your email every other day or only twice a week?
And hey, we all have problems with answering fast to emails and it keeps on adding up on our to-do lists, what means…
We don’t do our email every day.
Which means we could open them every other day or even less often.
12 | You don’t have to spend holidays with your families.
If it would make you feel stressed, rushed, tired and overwhelmed, just don’t go there. Holidays are meant to be the time of peace, calmness, joy, cheer, relax and rest. You can take it, you can have it, you can organize it in your life. So if a distant travel to distant people makes you stressed – don’t go there.
13 | You don’t have to play with your small kids or drive older kids to different courses.
There are so many styles of parenting! In the past, there were so many styles of parenting! There are so many styles of parenting in different areas of the world now!
And our main task as parents is to raise… strong, independent, wise ADULTS.
So we can do our chores and tasks and let kids observe and mimic us. We can leave them playing. We can give them the possibility to develop imagination and creativity.
Add one kind of play which you especially dislike to your list of things you don’t have to do in 2019. Don’t you feel lighter now?
14 | You don’t have to care about any pet.
Just don’t plan to get any pet!
What more you can give up as a minimalist to gain time, energy and attention?
15 | You don’t have to wipe dust from decorations and photo frames.
How our environment looks, affects our mood and even health and creativity. So let our homes be neat, cozy, pretty. And not cluttered.
Find the number of decorations that is enough to make your home neat, cozy and pretty. And get rid of the rest.
Don’t stare at photos. Meet people.
16 | You don’t have to wash and hang curtains.
Really. Just read how much a minimalist tidies up and clean home.
And for things that really matter, including your goals, vision board, and the One Most Important Thing every day, use an analog notebook or planner. Here are my choices:
Other people on lists of things you don’t have to do (with their exemplary lists):