People who make lists are my kind of people. There is nothing like a list to help me organize my thinking, get stuff out of my head, and bring some order to my life. I previously used a To-Do list every day, where I created a special list of all the things I did not want to do. It was my master, as it determined whether I felt good, bad, or neutral about myself depending on whether I crossed off the tasks. That I did not want to do.
Now that I am over the hump, I can tell you that breaking up with my To-Do list has been the best thing for my productivity that I have ever experienced. It caused me to lose my habit of focussing on the unwanted, which then created space for me to welcome in the wanted. And then to go do those things that I wanted.
I now call my daily list a Could-Do list. Meaning: here are some tasks I might do today, but I don’t have to. I’m in charge, not the list. I create the list, each day, based on what is ahead of me.
If you have a tendency to tie good feelings to task completion, then try this: make a Could Do list that is 50% tasks and 50% things you want to do today. Work that list. Then move to an 80/20% split. Work that list. And one day, wake up and say, I am only putting on my list things I want to do today.
If you have a tendency to tie good feelings to task completion, then try this: make a Could Do list that is 50% tasks and 50% things you want to do today.
When you have a day like that, celebrate. You have completed your break up with To-Do Lists.
Now, when I come across a task that life appears to require of me, I put it on a special list that I keep tucked out of sight. I often ask, do I really need to do this task? Could someone else do this better than I? Could I ask for help? What’s the consequence if I don’t do the task?
Often, I use the consequence to identify a want, which I note next to the task. So, my list reads: Schedule dentist. I want healthy teeth and I like the feeling of freshly cleaned teeth.
I don’t work this list on a daily basis, as it is not in charge of me. Instead, I pull it out, on occasion, and see if any task seems ripe. Ready for me to pluck it off the list and run with it.
Some tasks do have deadlines, which I meet. Some tasks, however, just hang out on the list. When they do, and there is no negative repercussion to me, I cross them off and free them from the list. (This is me visualizing my role as the master of the list.). I then put the list away. And pick up my Could Do list for the day.
Could Do lists can be populated with activities you know you will do. For instance, I might write on my list, have a delicious and enjoyable lunch. Any enjoyable activity can go on the list. My list, for today, is the following:
- Work on a new course around reclaiming your power at work.
- Attend a meeting about allocating resources and new initiatives.
- Daydream what my new closet a will look like.
- Build a fire this evening.
- Keep up with my Log Book.
What activities could you list, today, and then enjoy the process of working through the list? Where can you reframe a task into an want? Where can you shift your mindset into a positive looking one, that adds in activities you want?