This Is More Powerful Than Your To-Do List

We hear a lot about “To-Do” lists – checklists of tasks we’d like to complete.

While there are some advantages to keeping such a list of things you want to do in the future, do you have an effective, simple way to measure your activities and the results of your completed work ? Keeping a “Done” list can be a powerful tool to spur you to further action.

Create a Done list by keeping a daily record of all the tasks you began and completed that day, so you can reflect on your work output . You can finish the day clear about the progress you’ve made and more focused on where to begin the next day’s activities.

Our business often requires smaller, less notable activities. Of course, you’d love to be in front of great prospects, closing business deals each day, but some days will be filled with more menial tasks, such as wiring funds for a client, training your assistant in a new process for opening accounts, or in-putting trade notes. The day can get so busy with these seemingly less important tasks, you can sometimes get to the end of it feeling like you haven’t achieved anything, leaving you frustrated and discouraged.

However, these types of tasks are also important to running your business, even though they might not make you feel excited and energized. We all have the same finite amount of time each day, and accomplishing even “small” tasks or moving projects forward is valuable. Making note of what you have done will keep you encouraged and more eager to move to the next task.

Clients I have worked with who have developed the habit of keeping a Done list find they start eagerly anticipating tasks that previously seemed daunting. Where they previously would procrastinate, they find their focus shifts from all the work that needs to be done (which can feel overwhelming) to looking forward to the satisfaction they will experience when they can tick a project off their list and reflect on their significant achievement. They sometimes even start playing motivating, competitive games, seeing if they can achieve more items today than they did yesterday.

By recording the activities you’ve completed, you’ll see how productive you’ve been and won’t finish the day drained and wondering where all your time went or what you have to show for it. You’ll probably find you’re completing more than you thought you were. You’ll see how long various activities realistically take, which will allow for effective planning as you move forward. If you are actually wasting a lot of time on distractions, you’ll see that, too, and be able to adjust to do more meaningful activities.

Try your own Done list.

For one week keep a list of activities you complete each day, no matter how small they may seem. The items on your previous day’s list will give you a target to aim for the next day. Have fun seeing if you can achieve more tomorrow than you did today . The most effective way to do this is to:

  • Keep a notepad easily accessible . Make it quick and simple to record your activities.
  • Record all of your completed activities . Even if it’s small, jot it down. Mentally congratulate yourself, and then move to your next activity.
  • Review the list at the end of the day. See how much you’ve accomplished, feel great about your efforts, and take another look at it the next morning to spur you on to a new day’s activities.
  • Wishing you a wildly productive day!