Something about rigid “To Do” lists fuels my procrastination. Although I’m reasonably productive, a long To Do list for the day drains me of energy before I even get started.
If you suffer from “enervating To Do list syndrome” too, try this. Keep a daily log of what you DID each day. Rather than focusing on my To Do list, and how the tasks multiply endlessly, I focus on what I’ve actually DONE.
As soon as I hit my computer each morning, I create a new Daily Log note in my Journal notebook in Evernote. Whenever I think of it — every hour or so — I note the time, and what I’ve been doing.
This has an interesting effect. I get more done — I complete the tasks on my To Do list, and moreover, I have more energy. That “save me please God” feeling of hopelessness is gone. I’m sure there’s a psychological reason for this. I don’t care what the reason is, I’m just thrilled not to be dominated by my To Do list any longer.
Here’s an interesting article about the social media company Buffer, Buffer: Inside a Completely Transparent Company | Inc.com, where people do something similar:
“We’ve also implemented a daily personal improvement program. To track it we’re using the productivity app IDoneThis: Every day everyone logs what they’ve done, what they’re doing, and what they improved upon.”
The app looks good, but I’m happy to track my daily “dones” in Evernote, because I can jot down thoughts and ideas while I’m reporting on what I did over the past hour or so.
I like their idea of “daily self improvement”. Although I review a week’s worth of logs on Fridays, I hadn’t considered making notes on what I’d like to do better, or more. It’s a clever idea, so I’ll incorporate it.
If your To Do list freaks you out, try putting the focus on what you DID.