Are you a to-do list fan?
In fact, I used to love marking things off my to-do list so much that one of the items on my list would inevitably be “write to-do list.”
But, as I grew up, my to-do lists got more ambitious.
I’d get up in the morning and write the day of the week at the top of the list, then every single thing I could think of would go on the page.
I could never get through the whole list, and at the end of the day, I would look at how there was hardly anything scratched off Monday’s list, and end up dejected.
“Monday’s a fail, and I am a fail. I’m never going to get anywhere,” I’d think, which is every bit as healthy of self talk as you think it is.
I’d come back to my desk on Tuesday, move all the impossible things from Monday’s list, then, for good measure, add several more items.
This turned into a vicious cycle that went on for way too long.
I’d Had Enough
One day, I decided to scrap that to-do list. I had a sneaking suspicion that I was doing more than the list showed, so I decided to try something new.
I was going to see how much I actually got done in a week.
I took a blank sketchbook and split it into sections. I put the date range at the top of the page, then, every time I finished something, I wrote it in one of the sections:
- Ran two miles
- Walked the dog
- Finished a blog post
I made sure to mark small things as well as the more epic parts of my week (because in my opinion, life is a series of small things punctuated by a few epic things every once in a while). I did this for a few weeks, and tweaked my categories so I was tracking the things that mattered.
The crazy thing?
I LOVED tracking things this way. I worried I would miss the instant gratification of putting a line through one of my to-dos, but it didn’t work out that way. Instead, seeing just how much I could do in one week propelled me at the beginning of the next week. I showed my concept to a handful of friends, and they loved the idea, too.
Instead of To-Do Lists, Track Everything You’ve Done
When my friends tried to track things this way, they stalled, because they were intimidated by the blank page. That’s when I realized there might be a market for people who would benefit from this kind of tracking.
So, I started working on a physical product. A guided journal that helps you set goals at the beginning of the year, then break them down into quarterly chunks.
I called it the remarkable year because if you can motivate yourself by seeing how much you can get done in a week, imagine how motivated you’ll be when you see what you can accomplish in a year.
It might sound like a subtle shift, and it is, but it is really powerful.
Try it out and let me know how it goes!
I would love your support on Kickstarter. Thanks so much for checking it out! http://bitly.com/remarkableyear
Kathleen O’Malley Celmins is a recovering to-do listaholic and a storyteller. She believes everyone has a story inside them. She’s a blogger, a blog manager, and an entrepreneur.