How big is the list of stuff you want to get done? If it is anything like mine, it’s huuuuuuuge!
It is quite easy for us to overwhelm ourselves with the enormity of our wants and desires and our comparative ability to bring them to fruition.
It occurred to me recently to acknowledge the fact that I am making a lot of progress in my world, despite how I might feel otherwise – it’s simply that the list of desires I want to see manifested is abundant and rich and juicy.
Sometimes the richness and abundance of our desires makes the balance between those and our actual achievements seem a little one-sided.
But when we look at what we achieve on a daily basis, we can see the evidence that we did make a dent in our abundant desires. Because every step counts. Truly.
Breaking your day into baby steps is a strategy you could use to acknowledge just how much you have achieved in any one day – how much progress you are making, even when your inner critic is poking you and whispering “you’re lazy” or “you didn’t achieve anything today”.
It’s an easy idea to implement. This is how I do it.
There are a number of ways to manage your vision creatively but when I get down to a day by day level, I find it easiest to work to a straight-forward list. It’s my way to create some order out of the chaos!
I pick a pretty notebook, with good quality writing paper (just because this is an everyday occurrence, doesn’t mean it isn’t special.)
Each morning, when I show up at my desk, I list everything I want to achieve that day. I never make the list the night before as once I’ve slept and dreamed and processed information, my plan of action is likely to change!
I list everything I expect to achieve that day, whether it is a meditation, an Instagram visit, writing a blog post, working on research, creating a product, conversing with colleagues, booking a dental appt or art journaling.
Everything is given the same priority and nothing is more sacred than the next (because everything counts, remember!)
It’s easy to forget smaller activities, like paying a bill or ringing the dentist, but if I’ve written it down, I’ll make it happen!
As long as my daily list doesn’t lead me astray from my big vision and my ideas of what I wish to achieve that week, it’s all good.
How can you stop yourself making unrealistic daily goals? This is easy for me – I’m motivated by ticking off everything on my list each day.
You see, when I reinstated my daily list-making, at first I included items that I hoped would get done, but was more often than not unrealistic about what I could make happen in any one day.
Seeing those unticked items on my list really wound me up. It was reinforcing a negative image of my capabilities.
Now I have a feeling for what I can realistically manage in any day and include everything I’m confident about getting done, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
If I have time for more, I just add those to my list as I go along!
Break the Rules!
From time to time, I completely forget to create a list in the morning. But, oh, how I love those ticks! How I love to see the physical evidence of how much I managed to achieve that day.
On those days, I simply go back and write down what I did after I did it.
It turns out I’m not the only one who does this. When I asked the question on Twitter and Facebook, “Do you ever write down your to-do’s retrospectively, just so you can tick them off?” plenty of folk responded in the affirmative.
Gold Stars and Badges
As adults, and especially solo creatives, we are afforded little opportunity to be rewarded with certificates of achievements, gold stars or badges.
Yet, we still respond to them. They provide motivation in an environment that can often feel tough and lonely and impossible to conquer.
My note book of Daily To Do’s is a precious record of my daily achievements. It’s a badge of recognition for showing up every day and doing what I do.
With each list, I get more brave about what I include. I can see the items grow richer and more meaningful. This is only possible through practice.
This daily list making, it is a very important daily practice of mine. Will you make it one of yours?
This post was born out of a conversation I had with fellow participants in Jamie Ridler’s Circe’s Circle coaching group. My thanks go to those ladies for helping me capture and define another process of mine that had otherwise gone fairly unnoticed.