CrossFit Invictus Point Loma Rowing in San Diego

Have I Done It Lists
Written by Kim McLaughlin

I love ‘to do lists’. I love writing things down and being able to physically see what tasks need to be accomplished on a daily basis. I also love organization – so much so that instead of crossing things off of my ‘to do lists’ like most normal people I actually write out new lists (it’s a terrible waste of paper, I know). But, the intention in doing this is to keep everything neat and simple and I want to see a visible shrinkage in my list size.

The problem is that I rarely see the list get smaller. Once one task is accomplished, I have four new tasks that I need to add. My ‘to do lists’ are never ending. This constant task list used to stress me out. How can anyone feel accomplished when the list never shrinks? If “laundry” is on my list and I do that on Monday, it’s frustrating to know that it will appear back on my list by Wednesday. “Work on pull-ups” is on the list daily!

There are some tasks you just don’t EVER get to remove from your list. Sometimes in the process of completing one task, it evolves into three others. ‘Email Jaimie’ turns into ‘research Jaimie’s question and respond.’ Do I just have to live with the knowledge that I’m never going to shrink my ‘to do list’ down to nothing?

A simple change in the title of my list removes the stress out of the situation and actually has made me more productive! Instead of referring to the list as a ‘to do list’, I changed the title to a ‘have I done it list?’ This removes the stress of not being able to accomplish everything before the day is done, and, surprisingly, it has also resulted in less of a need to re-write my list throughout the day. That satisfaction that so many others say they get when they cross something off their ‘to do list’ is now what I get when I cross something off my ‘have I done it list’.

Why does a ‘have I done it list’ work? It serves as a physical reminder that I did something with my day. I turned my ‘to do list’ from a wishful thinking motivator to a physical reminder that I have accomplished tasks and it gives perspective on my time management skills. While the ‘to do list’ is about the plan and the possibility in any day, the ‘have I done it list’ is about execution and evaluation. This new list allows me to connect the dots between my expectations and my results and causes me to evaluate why some things may not be being accomplished. Do they need to be broken down into smaller tasks? Is it just not a priority?

If you struggle with getting everything you want to do accomplished in a day, whether that’s in the gym with your mobility, with your accessory work or whether its tasks outside of the gym with your kids, your job, and your free time, try a ‘have I done it list’. You might be surprised at what you prioritize and accomplish that you didn’t before.

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August 15, 2021 3:31 am

Thanks for this post! I have noticed that when I create a list, the realization of my written plans is higher than without a list. It helps to stay concentrated and more organized.