Posted by: mbmusings | July 20, 2007

A ‘Got-it-Done’ List

Via the awesome productivity site: Lifehack.org, is this article about two different kinds of To-Do lists.   You may find the Habits list discussed in this post useful; I certainly use a lot of the advise I find at the Lifehack and Zen Habits sites. 

Currently I use a 3-tier to-do list, I think as recommended by David Allen, author of the Get Things Done books.  Although I have to admit that I haven’t read any of the GTD books yet.

My system consists of a Daily, Weekly, and Monthly to-do list.  As David Allen teaches, these lists must be constantly updated in order to be effective.  My daily list is created each morning, from items left over from the previous day’s list, along with new tasks that came up the previous day, and new items from the weekly list.  At the beginning of each week, I create a new weekly to-do list, prioritizing what needs to be done during the week.  The same goes for the monthly list, at the beginning of each month.

From the post regarding the Habits List, I found an interesting concept for a different type of productivity list at the site: Productivity501.com.  They call it the Have-Done list

I think this is a great idea, although it may take more effort than I can muster at the end of the day, to track tasks that have been completed each day.  Especially when there is already a lot of work involved in keeping up with my current system of to-do lists.

I have identified myself as a person whose internal thoughts tend to focus on the negative.  I think this is why I have grappled with various psychological issues including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, etc. throughout my life.  The Got-it-Done list is a great way to focus your mind on the positive aspects of your day.

One of the most frustrating aspects of my job is that on many days, even some weeks, I will work all day, and into the night, without getting more than one or two of the items on my to-do list completed!  At the end of the day, reviewing my still full to-do list, I often realize that the list has grown during the day instead of being whittled away. 

This constant focus on the items that haven’t been completed on these lists is good in the morning, when you are motivated and have some time to get things done.  But at the end of the day, and over the weekends, thoughts of all those uncompleted tasks can ruin a night’s sleep or a stress out a weekend with the family.

The Got-it-Done list is a great way to feel a sense of accomplishment regarding the numerous items that you did get done during the day, and the week.  Also, this information will come in handy during your performance review with the boss, where you can show them exactly what you do each day, instead of excuses for why you haven’t done certain things that you weren’t able to get to.

I’m going to try to keep a Got-it-Done list for a while to see how it works.  Hopefully it will be a positive note to end each day by thinking about the accomplishments of the day, instead of focusing on the daunting to-do list for the next day.

Morning = To-Do List

Evening = Got-it-Done List

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