Each week, I make a day-to-day list of what I’d like to accomplish. Exercise, writing, cleaning, social activities, even silly little things like wearing my retainer—I lay it all out in black & white, print off the list, stick it in the front of my planner so I won’t forget the overall goals, or the small things that can get lost in the shuffle. This is a relatively new technique for me—I’ve only been making these lists for the past few months. I started the list because I found that time was slipping away from me a lot. Days and even weeks would pass, and I wouldn’t know where the time had gone. I would feel as thought I had accomplished next to nothing. I greatly dislike this feeling.
I like the weekly list technique for these reasons:
1) If I have scheduled and planned for time to do things to achieve ultimate goals—i.e. writing—I am less likely to go a few weeks without taking small steps toward these bigger goals. It keeps these things foremost in my mind.
2) When I cross things off at the end of the day, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Even if the list item was something simple like “take a walk”, knowing that this was a goal I had set for myself, and I accomplished this goal, is a good feeling.
3) As I mentioned, I am able to keep myself on track with the small things that I may otherwise let slide.
4) I like to make lists.
I dislike the technique for these reasons:
1) Sometimes it begins to feel that my day-to-day activities are just too structured.
2) If I have a day when what I really mentally and physically need is just to sit on the couch and watch a movie or read, and I do not “accomplish” the items on my list, I feel disappointed in myself. Even if I know what replaced the list items was better for me, there is still the un-marked-off-list to contend with at the end of the day.
3) There is less time for dreaming when you’re marking items off of a list. (Similar to reason #1.)
Lately, I’ve begun to cut back on the list items, putting only the essentials, the biggest and most important things I’d like to accomplish. I think this is a move in the right direction, and I’ll continue to cut down on the list, hopefully to the point where the remaining items are so much a part of my routine that I no longer feel that I need the list.
It just occurred to me that I made two lists within an entry talking about making a list. It’s possible, just possible, that I have a problem. :-)