Do you ever feel like the organization of your life is totally dependent on a series of to-do lists? I know the feeling. The truth is that to-do lists can help us stay organized and on track with whatever it is that we’re working on. But, it’s also true that to-do lists can be highly inefficient and perpetuate a cycle of brain spinning and overwhelm.
There’s a really wonderful alternative that I learned from an amazing coach I work with: the Done List. Like a traditional to-do list, it’s a place to remind yourself of what needs to get done and by when. Unlike a to-do list, though, it treats each item as a result that you will create in a designated time block.
This may sound like semantics, but it’s actually a proven brain hack to get out of a sense of constantly going and doing to actually getting sh*t done and off the list for good. Hello more mental space and cognitive bandwidth!
Here’s a clear example of some things I used to have on my weekly to-do list:
- Write newsletter
- Interview podcast guest
- Record solo episode
- Meet with 15 clients
- Teach Side Gig School
- Plan 3 yoga classes
- Make a new playlist
- Plan 3 dinners
- Call [insert relevant Dr. appointment here]
- Sign up for weekly workouts
This list would be practically by my side all week. Sometimes I’d misplace it and start over. Other times I’d remember to cross some things off and add other things.
Here’s what my Done List looks like, and what I actually do with it:
- Weekly newsletter written (time block Monday 8-8:30 am)
- Podcast interview completed (Tuesday 2-3)
- Solo episode prepped and recorded (prep and outline Monday 3-4, record Wednesday at office 1-1:30)
- Client meetings done (all scheduled on calendar)
- Side Gig School done (prep Wednesday 4:30-5; class 6:30-7:30; office hours Monday 4-5)
- Yoga prep done (Sunday 7-8 create sequence(s) and playlist)
- Miscellaneous calls/appointments made (Thursday 8-9 am)
- Weekly workouts done (sign up Monday 7 am and put on calendar for whole week)
I don’t know if the second iteration feels different to you, but it sure does to me. I feel accomplished and productive before I’ve actually accomplished or produced anything. Somehow the language shifting and the setting of the exact parameters around the results that I’ll be creating makes a difference in setting the tone for a great week where I feel calm and in control.
Give your Done List a try and let me know what you think!