Some of you are neat. Okay, most of you are neat. You have a special planner or notepad that you use specifically for your daily to-do lists. Or maybe you are like me, and tend to grab the nearest scrap of paper amongst the piles to jot the list down when you remember to do so. Either way, we make to-do lists. WE ARE THE LIST MAKERS. *cue the inspirational music*
We make lists to remember what we’re supposed to get done, to set goals, and to ensure a productive day. Not surprisingly, these lists usually end up making us feel like crap.
Why? Because we fill them to to the brim with so many tasks it would be impossible for anyone without super human abilities to complete everything before bed-time. Sure, that first or second check-off felt good, but by the time 8-o’clock rolls around and there are still 20-hours worth of tasks on the list, we feel like failures. Completely and utter failures.
Time to grab the bucket of ice cream and watch romantic comedies starring Tom Hanks.
No! You stop right there! This gluttonous catharsis has got to stop! I’m going to let you in on a little trick to help you feel better about your to-dos.
First of all, get yourself a handy little planner. Something you can easily carry with you in your purse, duffel, yoga bag, whatever. No more scraps of random paper for
me you! Make sure it has enough space in each day and places for notes. Now, I want you to start thinking longer-term: weeks/months instead of day-to-day. In your previous list making, you would place 10+ tasks on a single list and hope but fail to complete them all into a single day. NOW I want you to spread those tasks out throughout the week, jotting each one down on the last day possible you have to complete it.
Finally, when you find yourself with extra time in day, having already completed your minimal tasks for THAT DAY, you can move on to the tasks you have planned for future days. It will feel SO GOOD getting work done ahead of time instead of feeling like you are falling behind.
Turns out, we don’t need super-human abilities to reach our goals, we just need some realistic space in-between our steps to get there.