Focusing on a Done List vs To-Do List

Blessing Oshin September 5, 2012 6

DSC_0822Yesterday, 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.

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  1. Portia October 25, 2011 at 8:09 am - Reply

    I love this idea! Since I am an obsessive list maker I think this would work quite well for me. I’m going to give it a try today!

    • Blessing Oshin October 25, 2011 at 8:44 am - Reply

      You should and the good thing about it is, on days that you may feel inadequate, you can look back at things you accomplished on previous days or month and energize yourself to do more. Let me know how it goes. Just read your post about blogalicious, I am so jealous :)

  2. Paige Morgan October 27, 2011 at 10:41 am - Reply

    I just read your to-do list and am exhausted so I am going to back to bed! ;)

    I think this is an amazing idea! Let’s see how it goes!

    • Blessing Oshin October 29, 2011 at 9:33 am - Reply

      Definitely give it a try and let me know if it works for you. I have also used this is tracking my food intake, it puts a lot in perspective :)

  3. The Working Home Keeper October 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    I like this! This would be a great way to let go of the feeling that I’m not doing enough.

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

    • Blessing Oshin October 29, 2011 at 9:34 am - Reply

      Mary, thanks for your comment. I love this Done List and I am sure it will help you focus on those things you are doing enough of.

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