We have all heard about a To Do List; now let's look at a Do Not Do List. Increasing your productivity hinges on your ability to not keep making the same mistakes over and over again. The people who learn from their past mistakes are the people who will move forward much quicker than those who do not. There is a saying, "If you do not learn from History, you will be forced to repeat it." The reason this saying is particularly important to us is twofold. History for us will only be valuable if, by some chance, we have discovered the best possible way to do something and there is no chance it will ever be improved upon and only then will history be a good thing for us. As we know unless we are continually looking for ways to improve our performance, we will not be gaining any additional production advantages. It's just as important to keep track of what you do not want to do as what you want to do. By increasing your D.N.D.L., you are eliminating the activities that are hindering your production, your ability to function effectively and hurting your bottom line. The argument that items on your D.N.D.L. are more important than your To Do List is a valid one. The question we have to ask ourselves is this, what hurts us/ benefits us more or less, a positive or a negative? The Negative Argument We find some aspect in our process to order products that is costing us time and money. We discover that ordering a week in advance does not give us the chance to react to inventory levels so we order twice a week instead and solve the problem, saving time and money in the process. We put the "ordering once a week" process on the D.N.D.L. for future reference. If down the road someone says, why don't we save some time and only order once a week, we can trot out our D.N.D.L. and explain we have been down that road. This is an example of turning a negative into a positive for our gain. The Positive Argument The same process but in reverse. We are ordering twice a week and someone suggest we order once a week and we find out that once a week is better. We add that new process to our To Do List. The fact that we went the through the process to find the newer and better way to do a task we do on a regular basis is very important to the overall goal of maximizing what we do. The continual search for ways to become better, more functional and more efficient is at the heart of increasing your production. When I started this topic, I knew there was not going to be a nice bow that I could tie this up with. Sometimes that is not possible nor does it always have to be necessary. Sometimes the journey itself is the process. In this case, there really does not have to be a better way, they both feed off each other to make you a more efficient person. If we all learn from this is that we want to have a To Do List of things we know benefit us and we have a reverse list, our Do Not Do List of things we have found to not benefit us, then we are going to move forward. What you want to take away from this is: you want to always be weighing what you do with a risk / reward ratio viewpoint. You want to always be looking, investigating and thinking of ways to get better at what you do. You want to discard the way you do something whenever you feel you will gain an advantage. If you don't gain an advantage, keep looking, experimenting, and discarding until you find that advantage. Once you have found that edge, repeat the process all over again because there will always be another edge out there for someone who is looking for it. After all, isn't this what it's all about?