I have long been an avid to-do list creator. I can make incredible, neatly color-coded lists by project, by day, and by priority. This is a great way to kill time instead of doing the most critical thing on that list that I’ve been avoiding.
A few days into a productivity experiment focusing on just four priorities each day: exercising, completing one high impact task, investing in relationships, and reading non-fiction; I have thrown out the pretty yellow pad with all the depressing and overwhelming tasks listed.
Instead, I have only documented my accomplishments in each of the four areas once they are completed.
Why didn’t I think of this before?
It’s common sense that I have promoted before: completing even a 5-minute task that moves you toward your exciting, but also enormous goals nearly always triggers additional progress. It feels good to take steps forward, creating initial and sustainable motivation.
No more to-do lists. The done list is king.
My anxious type-A self, after recovering from a minor stroke, immediately asks, “But how will we know where to invest our efforts or what to tackle first!?”
This is why the four small, good habits for productivity structure is helpful, or whatever other structure you want to create. For example, once I have solidified my four keystone habits, I could create a daily structure of writing, blogging, SEO, and online income to eat away at my highest priority challenges each day.
Additionally, a clarity practice is essential for me. Ever have golden ideas in the shower? Or come up with a brilliant strategy while driving? The mind needs idle time to brainstorm and refine ideas to guide your goal achievement.
I achieve the most clarity during a restorative yoga class I take on Wednesday evenings. It’s one of the few times that I am forced to push out all the idle chit chat in my head and allow free flowing thoughts.
Clear about my highest priority and how I am going to go about reaching it, I can then invest my efforts in a daily structure of priority areas, acknowledging my progress in each area rather than creating an intricate mind map of what I would do if I wasn’t mind mapping.
Note: This is nothing new, which is why I should read more on other blogs by authors who are already masters at this. Life Hacker published a wonderful post on this topic that you should check out. There’s even an app for that (go figure): iDoneThis.