When you've been out of town for more than a week, and when your days before that didn't go quite as you'd planned, it's safe to say that things will be piled up and vying for your attention when you return. Imagine all the hands of all the things raised, waving frantically and yelling here, here, here! while your eyes skate wildly from one to the other, wondering which to choose first.
That's when a list becomes necessary. A grouping and organizing of all the frantically waving things helps, somehow. Priorities are able to float to the top, and your energy gets focused on accomplishing instead of herding the wild.
So, I listed. Got it all down. Fresh and ready to start at the beginning of the day, my list helped guide me into it with purpose. Such a good feeling.
But then... other things happened, like long conversations that weren't on the list. Like a slow, first-gear race on the lawnmower through the amazingly tall grass around the little house - quick (but not very quick, first gear and all), before the impending rain, which actually came down as snow. Like internet issues that required phone calls, plugging and unplugging of cords, and restarting of computers, while chewing up long minutes of the afternoon.
It doesn't take many instances like this to know that by day's end, precious few items may have that satisfactory line drawn through, and the crisp list you began with today may be just as crisp and new by tomorrow. I'm not sure how this can tend to bring the word fail to mind, but somehow it does.
That's when I thought a different sort of list may be in order: a Finished List.
The idea of a simple entry in my journal of what I actually did accomplish was enough to turn the tables right around. A high-five to the off-list accomplishments brought the remaining to-do list into perspective and gave me a boost to pick up the next day where I'd left off. Praise of a job well-done, even if it's your own job, and that job was nowhere on the list, is a power thing. Let's not let the un-finished rob from us the satisfaction of the finished, shall we?
How about you? Do you keep a Finished List, or something like it?
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