David Strittmatter

Create not-to-do lists to change habits

There has never been a better time to be alive!

Dear Friend,

I am really happy you are reading this (again) and hope you can enjoy it. If there is any feedback you want to let me know (greatly appreciate it!), just write me a short mail or Insta-Message.

This week I had plenty of time to reflect what I was doing during the last weeks, got many great ideas for my personal projects and could think about the future and what is going to wait for me. For me now is a great time to be alive. I am very excited about what the next time will bring and even more to share this experience with you. But for now, let me share my learnings of this week.

Create not-to-do lists to change your habits

Ever wanted to change a habit (e. g. more exercise in everyday life; more time for you own or less time wasting/more efficiency; eating more healthy food, …)? Most likely you will answer this question with yes. And ever created a to-do list to remind yourself of these resolutions? Probably yes, right?

Well, I have already faced such issues plenty of times. Luckily I read an article of Tim Ferris and tried something new: “Not-to-do lists”. According to Tim they are often more effective than to-do lists for upgrading performance as what you don’t do determines what you can do. And not doing something is more like a law. We are used to following the law and, therefore, it is more effective to do not-to-do lists. Sounds logical, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, believe this reasoning or not, the empirical statistics are in favour of not-to-lists. Hence, you should give it a try as well. For me, it works great. In order to give you a little inspiration, here some of my not-to-list items (also inspired by Tim Ferris):

Do not use your smartphone first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Instagram can wait until 10am, after you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items. Latter just gives you insomnia.

Do not try to please everyone “There is no sure path to success, but the surest path to failure is trying to please everyone.”

Do not carry your smartphone 24/7 Establish a “smartphone” week day, e. g. Sunday. Going out for dinner with your partner/friends? Keep the smartphone at home or at least in the car/bag. 

Last tip regarding this topic:

Focus on one or two habits at a time, just as you should with high-priority to-do items.

Never eat alone

There is this fairly good known book called “Never eat alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. I have already read it two times and summarized it as well. Yet, I did not really understand the core message until a few weeks ago. This book is, generally said, about the good way of networking, how you create meaningful relationships instead of just connecting with people with a plan in mind, exchange your contact and approach them again if you need something. Does not sound that bad, right?

Today however, I want to focus on a very important aspect of this book which is so important to the author that he even named the book after it. The last weeks I have been mainly concerned with learning for my exams (at the end of each term we have our finals counting 100% for the grade). As I prefer to study at home, I was always more or less socially isolated in this time perioed. This semester I wanted to change this and, hence, thought about possible solutions. Eventually I decided that every day I would go to lunch with someone or take a coffee break together. Additionally, I wanted to meet as many different friends as possible since I was not used to having lunch with my friends often and did not want to make it a habit at first (strict diet, you know).

During this time, I had many incredibly great conversations, could develop the relationships with these people further, collected tips for the exams, could talk about exciting topic, could offer help in case they had a problem, ask for help, and generally had a very good time. Further, the best thing is that you did not lose any time for your studies or work since you have to eat or want to take a break anyway. In addition, the people I met were always positively inclined when I asked them. All in all, this is a habit I highly recommend to anybody who wants to make use of any second of life and has no problem with being together with friends or other new people.

This was the last week’s post. Next week there is going to be a little longer recap of my learnings. Let me know if you like it shorter or longer.

All the best to you and yours,


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