To Heck With Your To-Do List – Celebrate Your Got-Done List!

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 You make them. I make them. Just about everybody uses or has used a good ole To-Do List to get things done.

Of course we do. How else would we know what to focus our energy and attention on every day?

No doubt, To-Do Lists serve a purpose. But if you’re anything like me, seeing all the things on your list that don’t get done can be frustrating.

No matter how diligent and effective you may be, there’s always a growing list of things you just can’t get to during any given day, week or month.

That’s why I suggest you start a new list: Your Got-Done List.

Yes, you need to acknowledge and celebrate what you’ve already accomplished to truly feel good about all this list-making activity.

At the end of a busy day, has anyone ever asked you what you did that day? Most likely you hemmed and hawed and could only remember a couple of things. That’s sad.

Not long ago I created my own Got-Done List sheet. For a couple of days, as I completed various tasks (whether they were on my To-Do List or not) I wrote them down on the sheet.

And guess what? At the end of each day I was amazed at how much I had accomplished over the course of several hours. As I looked over each day’s long list of completed tasks, I felt satisfied and productive.

But that rarely happens when you focus only on your To-Do List — which really should be renamed the “Bunch of Stuff I’m Too Lame to Get Done List”!

How empowered do you feel when you focus only on the unfinished tasks you still have yet to do?

The best way to get things done is to create both lists: One to record the important stuff you want or need to get done, and another to log the (hopefully) many things you actually do.

At the end of the day, you deserve to feel good about how you spent your time and the progress you made …

Of course, if the items on your Got-Done List consist only of “Took a nap” and “Watched Seinfeld reruns,” you have another problem that needs to be dealt with.

But my view of you is more optimistic. I know you proactively pursue your passions and take steps every day to make a difference with your ideas. And to you I say, “Make a daily Got-Done List to celebrate all of your many accomplishments.”

What do you think? Have you ever used this idea? Did I miss something? I welcome your comments.


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  1. Yes! I can’t say I do this all the time, but I’ve done it from time to time, especially on certain projects. It really makes all the difference in motivation. You couldn’t have said it better.

  2. I think this is a very effective way of getting things done. Ariel Hyatt recommends the same and doing so has helped me keep focused.

  3. You’re a hoot! But this is a really great idea. My to-do list drives me crazy because I delete lines and then add new ones. I swear I’m going to try this!

  4. James says:

    I keep a to-do list and check off items as I complete them. In college I started also adding tasks I had already completed and immediately checking them off and I found it really intrinsically rewarding. Those little check marks are like a treat for a mouse pushing a button!

  5. Chaz says:

    A truly simple incisive shift in viewpoint. Another look at lists of To Do’s is put on it only items that must be accomplished to achieve an overall target. That way these are fabulous DONES on the road to where one is going or trying to arrive.

    Chaz Van Heyden – Author of ‘Conquering Things’

  6. I’ve been doing this for a while.

    If you have an iPhone, I suggest downloading the free app iDoneThis. It’s a great way to write down your end of day activities. You can set a timer for when to be reminded.

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