Have you ever had one of those days when your task list felt a bit like this?
Recently, I’ve noticed that the more I try and organise my life, the longer the ‘to do’ list gets. And the longer the ‘to do’ list gets, the more I look like this: :(.
Although I’ve been doing a lot, the ‘to do’ list is also getting exponentially longer. Which leads me to two questions: 1) Where is it all coming from? and 2) How can I feel sane about this? No, let’s dream big, how can I feel good about it?
Number 1 is a question with many answers, but all we need to know for this post is that it is coming: that’s reality. Number 2, however, can be solved by a wonderous thing, the sister of the ‘to do’ list: the ‘have done’ list.
What is the ‘Have Done’ List?
Pretty much what it says on the box.
If the ‘to do’ list is the green-nosed and warty Wicked Witch of the West, the ‘have done’ list is the good witch in white who sings to the munchkins while surrounded by candy. The ‘to do’ list is an epic overnight study session for that exam you forgot about, the ‘have done’ list is a two-week holiday on the beach afterwards. The ‘to do’ list is war, the ‘have done’ list is peace.
The ‘have done’ list offers a different perspective on productivity and accomplishment: instead of focusing on everything that’s left on the ‘to do’ list, with the ‘have done’ list we can make a list of everything we’ve done as well.
The ‘Have Done’ List Version 2.0
‘Have done’ lists are great for every day use. I always feel much better about the day when I make a ‘have done’ list at the end. It can contain any accomplishment of any size, from ‘getting out of bed’ to ‘getting to work on time’, ‘completing project X’, ‘resisting the lure of cake’ and ‘quitting my job’.
But the ‘have done’ list isn’t just the antithesis to the ‘to do’ list, it can be used on a larger scale too.
I’ve had various income sources drop off over the last couple of months and the little voice that started off by saying ‘eep’ is now saying ‘EEP! EEP! EEP!’.
When it tells me that I should be earning this amount, that there will be dire consequences (yes, dire) if I don’t start earning more, I feel stressed. Because it’s not like I don’t know that, right? Doesn’t this voice think I have what it takes to ride the highs and lows of the self-employed wave?
‘No!’ is the answer.
Time for an injection of self-trust. And not just from anywhere, but from empirical evidence. Otherwise known as the ‘have done’ list version 2.0.
Things are a little slow now, but this is what I have done financially since the beginning of this year:
Paid off my student credit card.
Reduced my overdraft
Which all feels lovely. These things were goals for 2010 and I’ve achieved them already. Party!
When I look at my ‘have done’ list, I feel different. It doesn’t change practical reality: I currently still have less income than earlier this year.
But I do have more trust in myself.
And that’s what the ‘have done’ list is all about: trust and confidence in your abilities. It’s not about standing in front of the mirror and saying ‘I am a strong and capable person, and today I will be awesome’, it’s about looking at the facts and being able to say ‘According to this evidence, I am a strong and capable person and I am already being awesome’.
How does your perspective change when you look at situations in terms of ‘have dones’ not ‘to dos’? Tell me in the comments below!