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The "To-Don't" List: Finding Peace in A World that Expects You to Be Busy

Oh, the sweet, sweet satisfaction of a to-do list. There's something intoxicating about crossing off tasks, isn’t there? Sometimes I will write my to-do list and include something that I have already done so I can get an immediate dopamine hug. The mini thrill of checking that little box, the high of productivity, the smug sense of accomplishment—ah, it’s almost as good as chocolate. I said almost.

The relentless grind to always be doing something? It can be so exhausting. It can give us a sense that our lives have more purpose and meaning if we are "busy." I cannot tell you how many bus stop conversations with other parents wouldn't happen if the introduction was not always "I am so busy!" followed by the sharing of the never ending list of "to-do's". I have enjoyed conducting a little social experiment of responding with "I am balanced" instead of perpetually busy. Most of the time, people don't seem to relate or respond a bit lost as to where the conversation should go.

What would we do if our worlds did not revolve around our "to-do" lists?

How would our lives and relationships change if we cared less about checking off boxes?

What if we got really clear on what we will not do vs. the "to-do"?

Welcome to the flip side, my friends. Let’s talk about the revolutionary concept of the "To-Don't" List. A list dedicated to all the things you are not going to do. We cannot have and do it all. So, to have more joy and ease in our lives, it is helpful to get super clear on what does not support our highest good.

Let’s explore the liberating joy of (essentially) caring less:

1. Don’t Say Yes to Everything

We’ve been conditioned to think that saying “yes” is the path to success. Spoiler alert: it’s the path to burnout. Remember that PTA meeting you dread? The extra project at work? The dinner party that feels more like a hostage situation? Don’t go. Politely decline, or if you’re feeling spicy, throw in a “hard pass.” Your future self, cozied up in PJs watching Netflix, will thank you.

2. Don’t Check Your Email First Thing in the Morning

Here’s a hot tip: your inbox can wait. Your morning is sacred. Whether it’s sipping coffee in silence, doing yoga, or scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, own that time. Your emails will still be there after you’ve fully woken up and mentally prepared yourself for the chaos that is your inbox.

3. Don’t Aim for Perfection

Perfection is overrated and, frankly, boring. Embrace your beautifully messy self. Did you burn the toast? Extra crispy is a thing. Forgot to water the plants? They’re just toughening up. Didn’t hit your gym goal this week? You exercised your right to rest. Be perfectly imperfect. It’s way more fun.

4. Don’t Keep Toxic Relationships

If there’s one thing we should be all-in for, it’s Marie Kondo-ing our social circles. If someone doesn’t spark joy, it’s time to thank them, bless them, and let them go. Life’s too short to deal with people who constantly drain your energy. Invest in those who lift you up and keep your vibe high. This does not mean avoidance of conflict- because all relationships require conflict resolution at some point. But do not hold onto a relationship that has you feeling like a hamster on a wheel and questioning your sanity.

5. Don’t Overcommit Your Schedule

Ever looked at your calendar and felt your soul leave your body? Yeah, that’s a sign. Just because your calendar has slots doesn’t mean they need to be filled. Block off some “me time,” guard it fiercely, and let your soul breathe. Whether it's a nap, a walk, or an hour of doing absolutely nothing, treat it like the non-negotiable it is.

6. Don’t Ignore Your Gut

Your intuition is your superpower. Trust it. That uneasy feeling about a new project? Listen to it. That little voice telling you to take a break? Don’t shush it. The more you tune into your inner guidance, the more aligned you’ll be with your true self. And there’s nothing more empowering than that.

7. Don’t Multitask

Newsflash: multitasking is a myth. Juggling a million things at once doesn’t make you productive; it makes you scattered. Focus on one task at a time and give it your full attention. You’ll not only get things done more efficiently, but you’ll also feel less like a headless chicken.

8. Don’t Forget to Have Fun

This one’s a no-brainer. Life is too short to be all work and no play. Dance in your kitchen, laugh at silly jokes, and make time for the things that light up your soul. Fun isn’t just for weekends; it’s a daily necessity.

So, there you have it, the magical "To-Don't" List. It’s time to rebel against the busyness culture and reclaim your peace. Start small, pick a few "to-don’ts," and watch as your life transforms into a sanctuary of calm and joy. Because, darling, you deserve nothing less. Here is to doing less and living more!

High Fives & Heck Yeahs,



Erica Wilcox, LPC is a Certified EMDR Therapist and EMDRIA Approved Consultant in East Hampton, CT. She is the Founder and CEO of Wilcox Wellness Center for Personal Growth and speaks globally about mental health and wellness. She specializes in intensive EMDR therapy and works with clients across the nation who travel to Connecticut for a self-led therapy retreat focused on intensive EMDR and healing.

Contact Erica at to connect and take your next step towards freedom.


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