We all write lists every now and then, but can a list really help you turn your life around? I believe that it can.
1. Put little things on your lists. It helps you to feel accomplished if you can cross off something small like “email so and so back” or “eat your lunch.” It may seem silly to put small things like that down onto a list. These things might not feel like big accomplishments, but trust me, that does not matter when you get to the end of your day. If you got things done, big and small, you can have the physical proof of a list with things crossed off of it. Which means you had a productive day.
2. Put things on the list that make you feel better. They may become habit eventually, but until they are, put things on the list like “do a yoga video” or “take a deep breath” or “drink a big glass of water.” These things are good for your health in the long run, and no time spent doing them is a waste of time. Putting them on the list might be exactly what you need to make them into a good long-term habit.
3. Don’t sweat the big stuff. You may find yourself putting off something. It’s ok. We all do it. Write that thing you’re putting off on your list every day until it’s done. You will feel so great the day that it is and it will eventually get done. Let’s say, for example, that you’re putting off calling the cable company to ask about your bill. It’s been on your list for four days and you still haven’t done it. At some point you will either just suck it up and do it, or something else will appear on the list like “clean the toilet” and you’ll find you might rather do that thing you’ve been putting off.
4. Make sure to include things you want to do. Have you been wanting to read a book, or write a book? Or go for a long walk? Or learn to knit? Or make cupcakes? It doesn’t matter what the thing is, we all have things we want to do that we aren’t making time for. By putting those things on your to-do list, you are holding yourself accountable for not doing things for yourself. And if you want to do them, you can do them instead of cleaning the toilet. Just this once. Cleaning the toilet will be on your list tomorrow though…