The Old Way
Have you ever made yourself a grand to-do list, all pumped up for the day, only to rush around for 9 hours without checking off even half the items? It’s great to have high expectations for yourself, but it’s important to set yourself up for success. When you can’t hit every single item – and let’s be honest, if you’re like me, that list had at least 15 big “to-dos” that you knew would be pushed to tomorrow – you end a hard day feeling both exhausted and deflated. It’s impossible to keep up your hard-earned motivation!
Here are 2 alternative task lists I recommend to help you feel positive and make meaningful progress. (If you watch the video version, you’ll get 3!
1. The Big Three
Limit your to do list to your three priority items. Which non-negotiables must be done today for you to maintain peace of mind?
- The final draft of your English essay is due by 4PM
- You promised you’d call your mom, and
- You value reading one chapter of Harry Potter every night before bed
Great – that’s plenty for one day! And the key is, while these Big Three might be time-consuming, if there are only three, you are going to be able to fit them into your schedule without burning out. When you can definitely check these Big Three items off your list, you will feel satisfied with yourself, and anything else you accomplish is just a cherry on top.
You can keep a running list of non-urgent To-Dos in the Notes section of your phone or the back of your agenda just so you don’t forget, and then refer to them when you have extra time and motivation one day, or while you plan tomorrow’s Big Three.
2. Weekly Wins List
Maintain your motivation by keeping an easy list of your weekly wins. Whenever your week “ends” (maybe Friday or Sunday), bring out a little notebook or pad of paper and write down bullet points of everything you accomplished that week.
If reminiscing over your major milestones feels good, make the list as long as you like. Alternatively, you can keep the Weekly Wins list simple by limiting yourself to 3 or 5 items at a time. This way you can reflect on your priorities and progress towards the most meaningful goals in your life.
A variation could be a Daily Wins List. It’ll remind you even on days when you feel like you got nothing done that you have actually spent your time valuably after all – it just needs to be noticed.
Do you have any other ideas for “alternate” tasks lists that keep you calm, organized and high on life? Share with others in the comments. You can also check out my post on Five Easy Tips for Emotional Relief to help you feel better on those frustrating days when nothing seems to get done.
Stay brave, folks!
– Intrepid Emma