The pace has been fast and furious around here as we have been preparing to release my book. Like most busy women, I’m a sucker for a good list – or more appropriately these days – lists. I usually write mine by hand on neon colored pads of paper and they help keep me organized and focused, clear my brain of clutter, and free up some of that “I have to remember” energy so I can focus on much more interesting stuff.
Today while I was sorting through the papers on my desk, it occurred to me that I am not simply a to-do list kind of woman. It turns out that there are five types of lists that I use on a regular basis to help with stress, overwhelm, and making life better.
My (current) top 5 lists:
- The to-do list. My to-do list breaks things down into the smallest chunks possible. I am a woman who gets great satisfaction from crossing things off the list, so I always break things down into steps. I can also recommend a strategy that a client is having great success with. Her to-do lists are not “I will do” lists. She always includes a second “who will do it” column which is helping her get better at delegating and asking for help.
- The to-be list. I’ve shared this one before. It makes a huge difference to shift my focus from what I’m going to do and toward how I want to be on any given day or in a certain situation. My to-do list may be a mile long, but when I list that I want to be peaceful or purposeful or grateful or happy, it actually makes a huge difference in the choices that I make and the way I approach my day.
- The want list. This can be a big picture life list kind of thing, but I find it is most useful when it’s one or two items written on a very tiny sticky note and related to a very specific situation. What do I want to have/accomplish/learn at the end of today/this conversation/this project/this week? My friend Shawn Shepheard recently posted this update on his Sugar Free Shawn Facebook page: “Fast forward to Friday afternoon. You are sitting with a friend telling her about your amazing week. What has to have happened this week for you to call it amazing?” That’s a fantastic question to use to access the want list.
- The what went well list. As in what went well today? It’s critical for me to take inventory of what I feel good about, what I accomplished, and how I was effective – especially when there is still a lot undone. It’s too easy when we’re stressed to get lost in what hasn’t been tackled yet and miss some of our best accomplishments. A fun tool for tracking your what-went-wells is called I done this. When you sign up (and there’s a way to sign up for free if you read the teeny tiny print) you’ll get an email every evening asking you what you got done today. They’ll even calendar it for you so you can go back and reflect on your own awesomeness!
- The tolerating list. This is a list I make every few months, certainly not daily, but it has a big impact on my peace of mind. This is a list of what isn’t working in my life – the things I am tolerating or putting up with. This is where I list the little irritating stuff that I may have started to (almost) take for granted – like the squeaky door or the crick in my neck – as well as the bigger problems. There is something amazing about making a list like this. Every time I have gone through the process of making note of these tolerations, I’ve found that many of them start getting taken care of.
I could keep going. There are so many helpful things to take note of (I love making a gratitude list) but these are currently my top five. What are you tracking and listing these days? Do you have any list-keeping tools to share? Leave a comment and help me feed my obsession!
Take good care,