The Easiest Way to Stop Wasting Time and Increase Productivity

This past weekend, I spoke at a conference that–I kid you not–was called “The Bad Ass Mentor’s Retreat.”

 Topanga increasing productivity.

Yes, I’m wearing a shirt with Topanga on it.


Organized and hosted by my old friend, Jason Capital, an extremely savvy entrepreneur, the conference was filled with nearly 300 men, all looking to become better versions of themselves.

I personally spoke about increasing testosterone, and how that can make you more successful in life, business, and relationships. I gave out a LOT of great information that’s going to help people increase their productivity and all around crush it this year.

One of the things all of the speakers talked about was the importance of “NOT To-Do” lists. That is, make a list of all of the things you absolutely refuse to do, and then stick with it.

  • DO NOT check email before noon. Email is a reactive exercise; it forces you to move on things that you don’t need to. Instead, spend the first 3-5 hours of the day working on a big project.
  • DO NOT watch TV with weak male characters. One of the things I detest about mainstream entertainment media is that married men are always portrayed as dumb, ineffectual, obsequious wretches who are afraid of their wives. That’s awful, and I refuse to support it by watching or letting it sink into my subconscious.
  • DO NOT hit snooze. Ever. Most of the time I wake up before my alarm goes off, but on the days I don’t, as soon as it goes off, I’m up and out of bed.
  • DO NOT work from the same place you sleep or eat. Have a designated work space.
  • DO NOT skip more than 2 consecutive songs on your playlist while training. You’ll get sucked in and your workout will suffer. Touch your phone as little as possible.

Stuff like that.

Now, those are just a small sample of mine, but the important thing is that I have a very specific list of things written down.

It’s been shown that you’re more likely to remember something 1 and stick with it if you write it down. Writing it down makes it more than an idea; it makes it tangible. And that tangibility is the key to sticking with anything.

Just as it’s important to have those things in order to avoid building bad habits, it’s equally important to build good habits.

A NOT to-do list will help you do just that.


  1. According to a study in Psychological Science, using pen and paper to take notes boosts memory and the ability to retain and understand concepts. The researchers believe that the actual process of writing something down triggers temporal aspects that strengthens memorization and the learning process overall. Check out the study here.
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About The Author
John Romaniello is an author, consultant, and coach who helps people and brands find their voice through writing. He's published hundreds of articles, dozens of courses, and one New York Times bestselling book. Might wanna check out his Instagram, he's pretty easy on the eyes.