The “I don’t” list

i dont list

I’m just starting out on the road to “focus” in 2014, so, to quote Uneeka Jay, I’m repossessing my “yes”:  bumping up relevant activities and downgrading the nonessentials.

My blogging friend Anita Mathias piqued my interest in the “I don’t” list a few days ago.  She made a statement that stuck with me:

“You recognize that you are never, never going to do what God has called you to do if you try to do everything that everyone else does. You realize that you can, at most, do one thing well, and so you focus.”  


Right away, I started mulling the things that I do and the things that I don’t do, all as part of my journey of “focus.”  Here’s what my lists look like:

Things I do

  1. Keep plugging away daily at small steps towards my goal of being a successful freelancer.
  2. Pray and read the Word consistently, and listen to the Holy Spirit.
  3. Congratulate Facebook friends for their birthdays, and click on the Breast Cancer Site every day.  
  4. Unsubscribe online and offline from whatever causes clutter or drama.
  5. Return unused or unusable items.  Again, no clutter, more cash.
  6. Learn something new every day.
  7. Listen to good music and read voraciously every day.
  8. Look for small and big ways to bless and encourage others.
  9. Exercise regularly.
  10. Say “thank you,” whether in person, via e-mail or snail mail, or online. 


Things I don’t do

  1. What the crowd is doing.
  2. Indulge empty-headed people.  I won’t be rude to you, but I will definitely DFC (decrease frequency of contact).
  3. Social events at which I have to make small talk to strangers and appear interested and interesting.  
  4. Television (except for The Haves and the Have Nots; don’t judge!)
  5. Violent or R-rated movies.  
  6. Starbucks.  Or coffee. 
  7. Read just one book at a time. I normally have several in the mix.
  8. Christmas cards.  I’d rather call you and have a good chat.
  9. Clutter and excess.
  10. Multi-level marketing, or home parties at which related stuff is sold.  
  11. Farmville, Candy Crush, Pudding Pop, Texas Hold’em.  All y’all who play them…for the love of Mike, stop sending the rest of us requests!?  #Pleasethankyou.
  12. Blogging five days a week.  More power to you who can do it.  Moi?  I’ll pass.

Do you have an “I don’t” list?  What are the top items on it?


  1. I absolutely LOVE the way you did this post, and I think I am just going to do this for myself just as a way to remind me of what I am doing well. :)-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted..You Ate WHAT?!?My Profile

  2. Social events at which I have to make small talk to strangers and appear interested and interesting.<<<<GURL!

    I'm watching the Haves and Have Not's on DVR right now 🙂 I'll be sure not to invite you to a challenge party in your area, lol! Thanks for the heads up!

    I love this list!
    Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady recently posted..If You’re Happy and You Know it, Just Say NoMy Profile

    • I don’t mind the challenge, as long as it isn’t Monday through Friday! I can handle three days but five? Not so much.
      I’m loving #HAHN. Looking forward to next Tuesday’s episode. Candace… Lawd help us! Expect World War Ten when she finds out about her brother!
      Alison recently posted..The “I don’t” listMy Profile

  3. When I got to the part about App games, I was saying YES!!! I don’t play those, I can’t stand receiving notifications about them!! I think this year, we should all pay attention to our “don’t” list, it will make things easier. Especially if we can clearly define where we draw the line in the sand.

    • Aren’t those requests annoying? Makes you wonder!!! LOL Yes to drawing that line in the sand, Kalley. Easier said than done sometimes, however.

  4. DFC = brilliant! I love your list.
    I do share some of your “I don’ts” – including Candy Crush and those games, violent movies, Christmas cards (more from laziness), and blogging five days a week. I don’t get how they do it! Three is my limit and my Fridays are usually some sort of linkup that at least already has a framework.
    I DO read one book at a time, though. And I do drink coffee, but only in decaf.
    Tamara recently posted..Something So Simple.My Profile

    • I can’t even take the smell of coffee, Tamara. I know… strange. Go figure! LOL And I wish I could whittle it down to one book at a time but my Kindle has made it way too difficult to do that. With the flick of a finger I’m into another book! LOL

  5. Love this idea…great visit with you as always 🙂
    Tiffany recently posted..When Family Comes To Go…Life As a Team ApartMy Profile

  6. I never thought about an i don’t list. i usually just try to focus on the I do. But I guess if you don’t identify what you don’t do…they’ll just creep on your I do list. I share a lot of the this you do and don’t. Love the concept.
    Hope recently posted..Without my cell phone…My Profile

  7. I love your do’s and don’ts lists Alison! I like the Haves and Have Nots too, lol! I recently had to decrease frequency in contact with my best friend growing up. She and I are not in the same place spiritually, mentally and I had to get negative people out of my life in a kind way. I feel free now!
    Sherelle recently posted..I Want To Meet Ms. Jackson: I Am ForealMy Profile

    • I get that totally, Sherelle. Sometimes we outgrow some friendships; the key, as you said,is to acknowledge the reality and move on, but in a kind way. Here’s to “I don’t” lists that lead to growth and positivity!

  8. LOL at your plug about the requests on Facebook. I’ll have to say that those are pretty annoying. 🙂 I don’t do any of those Facebook games either. I also don’t do any multi-level marketing. I did try a couple last year and realized that it’s all just not for me. I don’t do really any shows unless it is homemaking, DIY or food related. I enjoy HGTV and Food Network, though I don’t watch everything on either. I have a few shows that I like that I watch from time to time. As much as I wanted to taper off, I do find myself creating a post 5-6 days out of the week. I don’t know how it happens, but it’s always something I end up needing to create a post for: a blogger opportunity, a guest post I’ve written is going live and I want to share with my readers…and then I host Countdown in Style Sundays with a Feature Friday attached to it that I post on Friday. 🙂 Those are just a few… xoxo
    Brittnei recently posted..Growing Up Madison #Cash #Giveaway #Blogger OpportunityMy Profile

  9. I don’t have such a list, but it feels as though I need one. Thank you for this! And regarding #11 – Let the Church say Amen!
    Dina recently posted..A Word, Please.My Profile

  10. No offense to those who can do it, but over the Christmas break I said several times to myself, “Wow you’re really going to blog “everyday?” I can’t tell you what a relief it is to write when something comes to me or I’m able to think of something for a prompt. Your #3 is so me that I’d hope in sitting beside it each we wouldn’t drift into that awkward silence after, “It’s so good to finally meet you!” LOL! I really would hope to meet my blogging friends one on one. And yeah, I’m not going to be good at #10 either.
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted..Whose Science Project Is It Anyway?My Profile

  11. I’m with you re: keeping the blogging schedule reasonable. I see several of our friends have scaled back too. It’s a lot, I tell ya, to keep up with the writing, the promoting, the commenting… yikes. Twice a week is all I can handle right now.

    We should really have a get-together of blogging friends, especially those of us on the East coast. I think we’d get along splendidly!
    Alison recently posted..The “I don’t” listMy Profile

  12. I have been unsubscribing a lot lately. I have over 7,000 UNREAD emails earlier this week. I have 6 email accounts and I can’t get to the relevant stuff because of the irrelevant stuff. DFC! Ha. I love it. So glad we share a love for The Haves and the Have Nots. I know that’s a stretch for you. Thanks for sharing, Alison.
    Kimberly H. Smith recently posted..Traffic Jam Weekend Linky Party #4My Profile

    • Girl, I froze at “7000 emails”. *faints* I know you’re a good organizer so you’ll find a way to prioritize and clear out.

      I’ve been on an unsubscribing tear too! Amazing how much stuff finds its way into your inbox! I have three personal e-mail accounts but only two are active. Even so, I feel like I could cut back to one. Perhaps I will this year…

      I’m loving the Haves and the Have Nots! Are you in the FB group? It’s pretty good.
      Alison recently posted..The “I don’t” listMy Profile

  13. for the longest time i did not watch TV. actually never owned one either. but my husband is a TV addict. it relaxes him. so to compromise, we’ll watch cooking shows. but honestly, i’d rather be reading!
    Catherine Gacad recently posted..Being PregnantMy Profile

  14. Oh, I love the quote from Anita. And I could just copy your do and don’t do list and paste it to mine. Except I’m horrible at getting the Word in every day but I’m trying. It’s a struggle. I need to make more time for that and less time for other things.
    Carla recently posted..#OneChange For Better HealthMy Profile

  15. I hate when I miss profound blog posts such as this one… but I love it when I am led to go back through and read particular ones and know I was MEANT to read this one.

    LOVE this quote and idea. I will surely make my list too.
    Chris Carter recently posted..My Winding Road of FaithMy Profile

    • Great, Chris! Anita’s quote was the jump-off point for me to think through what I really don’t do (or don’t need to do). There’s something to be said for being clear about what will NOT consume one’s time!

  16. That quote really resonates with me Alison. What we choose not to do can be just as important as what we choose to participate in. I love the haves and have nots too 🙂
    Wanda recently posted..The Great HuntMy Profile

  17. I love this post SO much. I am LOL at blogging 5 days a week. I’ll pass right along with you. I can’t. It just cannot be done. I think I may need to copy this post idea. Awesome. Focus on your focus!
    Andrea recently posted..Blogging is Similar to the Social Fabric of a High School CafeteriaMy Profile

    • Love that quote: “focus on your focus.” Girl, it’s a daily challenge but I’m committing to it, one day at a time, and sometimes one hour at a time!

  18. Hi Alison! Stopping by from our Tribe! I like the concept of having an “I don’t..” list. I’ll have to get one of these drafted for a later day! Thanks for the idea!
    Michael recently posted..Fat to Fit #1My Profile

    • Go for it, Michael! It helps clarify what matters (and should occupy your time and attention) and what doesn’t really count. I’ll be visiting you in a bit!

  19. Hey Alison,
    I really need to make a list for myself, featuring what I have done, and what I have done well. I am always focused on what I am not doing. You made this simple and I love the quote from Uneeka Jay. Thanks!

    Carica recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Laugh until you cryMy Profile

    • Hey Carica! Go get your list ready! You’ll find that it brings clarity to a lot of your processes and gives you a starting point for future plans.

  20. #4 and #9 of the (I Do List) is what I’m working hard on in 2014. I don’t have an ‘I Don’t’ list, but I’m inspired to create one. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud for #s 2 and 11 (I Don’t List)…LOL!

    Your fellow SITS Girls Tribe member,
    Danielle recently posted..Entering a New PhaseMy Profile

    • But isn’t it true, Danielle? I can’t with empty-headed people, bless their little hearts! And the online games… I wish I could come up with a big banner that reads: “No online games accepted. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to jail!” LOL

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