I had a client recently who announced in this “can you believe what a mess I am?” tone, “I don’t think I’ve ever finished a to-do list.” As though this was some deep character flaw.
Most to-do lists are dozens of items long. Some of those items take hours or days to complete. And life has a funny way of ushering more to-dos onto our lists at a faster clip than we can cross them off.
No one finishes their to-do list! (Yes, maybe you have 15 small to-do lists scattered around your notebooks and sticky notes and you “finish” one of those, but you know what I mean — THE to-do list.)
And yet, we for some reason think we should be able to finish everything. And when we don’t, we feel (inevitably) defeated and, worse, bad about ourselves.
You could have just knocked a day out of the park, did 3 major things to move your projects forward, crossed them off the list, and only saw the 37 things you didn’t do. And you walk away focused on those 37 things. Even though there was no way you’d possibly get them done. Even though you just knocked the day out of the park.
This was one of my favorite changes I experienced when I switched from to-do lists to time-blocking.
I go into each day knowing what I realistically want to achieve and when I’ll do each thing. At the end of the day, I feel accomplished and proud when I got everything done that was scheduled for the day. And I’m confident because I know I have a game plan to get the rest of the things on my plate done in their own time in a way that works for me. When I knock a day out of the park, I feel like it. I go to bed knowing it.
I walk through how to transfer to-do lists into actionable calendar events in my time management program.
If you want to swap to-do list defeat for accomplished highs, send me an email (click the little “email” button in my profile). I’d love to help you knock 2020 out of the park — and know it.