Yesterday, I was on facebook and a friend had mentioned the power of ‘Done-List” vs the common ‘To-Do List’. The ‘Done-List’ is a list you compile as you go of things you have accomplished that day. I find this useful in my role as an engineer because usually my day never ends up the way I planned and I spend so much time beating myself up for not accomplishing what I set out to accomplish. By creating a done list, I am able to give myself credit on what I got done, and look forward to what’s next. The motivation and encouragement that comes from a done-list are huge. You are able to focus on the task at hand because it doesn’t matter if its on your to-do list on not, it is a task that you have suddenly decided must be accomplished.
A good example is yesterday. I decided to go to all of the meetings on my calendar and when my reports had questions, I gave them my full attention knowing fully well that would be a documented accomplishment as I normally tend to think of what’s on my to-do list and almost always dismiss conversations that take too long. Well, not yesterday. I gave my 100% and I learned so much about the particular problem that was discussed and was able to offer a solution on the spot. This was documented, and I felt really happy. By the end of the day,
- I had worked 9hr (attended three meetings of which I was effective because I was not thinking of my to-do list, solved problems, and worked on couple reports etc.)
- I went home, cooked dinner, ate dinner and cleaned for 2hrs
- I went to the gym, ran for 1hr, I did not think of how many hours I wanted to run, I just wanted to run till I was tired
- I went to the library, checked out some books for 30mins
- I went to Panera Bread to study for my midterm exams for 1hr 30min
- I went home, bathed my daughter, read her a book and off to bed we went.
By the time I sunk my head into my pillow, I reviewed my done-list and I patted myself on the back. I am trying it again today. Basically, my point is to give yourself a way to see what you’ve accomplished without worrying about deciding what you are going to do ahead of time. Most likely, a to-do list of some type will be the most beneficial for the majority of situations, but making a have-done list at the end of the day helps for those times where a to-do just isn’t appropriate.