When you’re climbing the high-stress ladder, more often than not you have to deal with difficult and complex issues. A common dilemma for many people is how they manage all of the competing demands to chase the elusive ideal, work-life balance. Some people appear to manage career and life with relative ease by scribbling over a to-do list for work-life balance. Some tumble over the spilled aspects of work, job exhaustion, loss of family and friends, and increased stress; which would ultimately affect their physical and psychological well-being. For such people, here is a not-to-do list which will prove to be much more effective than to-do lists. It will help you calm down, and allow you to make better decisions, sleep better and be happier.

DO NOT CHECK EMAIL AT BED

We avoid reading emails before going to bed for two reasons: 1.) It gets your mind working and makes it difficult to be able to fall asleep, and 2.) the ‘blue-light’ from back-lit devices like mobiles, tablet, or even laptops, throws the body’s biological clock out of balance. The nighttime light exposure deters the production of melatonin in the brain, making it even more difficult for you to sleep.

Believe it or not, even dim light can interfere with your circadian rhythm (the 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes) and melatonin secretion. Light at night, a mere eight lux, is the reason why so many people are unable to get enough sleep. Research suggests there is a link between short sleep and depression, diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

DO NOT ENGAGE IN NEGATIVITY-FILLED CONVERSATIONS

This kind of conversations are taxing on energy and morale. If it’s a conversation that can be avoided, for example, it’s coming from a co-worker who needs to vent, try changing the tone of the conversation: ask the person what they’d do to improve the situation?

Negativity perpetuates, breeds in itself, and clutters the mind with dissatisfaction. And when your mind is filled negativity, happiness is much harder to come by.

DO NOT CONSUME MEDIA AIMLESSLY

Cut yourself off from media consumption before you’re about to do something important. The daily repetition of news gives us a pessimistic, fatalistic, and desensitized worldview. It also kills creativity and is one reason why novelists, entrepreneurs, composers and mathematicians don’t consume media ravenously. The more we consume arbitrary storylines, the craving gets increasingly hypnotic and hard to ignore.

Our nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones to store short and long-term memories. The more news we consume, the more we strain our neural circuits devoted to multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking attentively. News ultimately turns into an interruption system was we lose the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books.

DO NOT STRESS OVER LOW-IMPACT PROBLEMS

Whenever a problem arises, inspect it to determine if it’s worth your time. If it’s a low-impact problem, or unimportant, either delegate it or forget about it. If it’s something that needs to be dealt with on an urgent basis, go ahead.

Try creating your own list and keep it visible and stick to it!

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