When you wake up in the morning and dive into your to-do list—maybe you made it the night before, maybe in the morning, or maybe you make it up on the fly—isn’t it gratifying to cross things off? It provides a sense of closure—of satisfaction—for getting something done. Then you move on to the next thing. It’s a productive approach to make the list and check things off.
But the tendency we can have is to continually look ahead to what we have yet to do, and never really stop, look back, and reflect on the day and say, “Look at all I got done!”
So as writers, as we set out with a goal of writing 500 words or so many pages each day, at the end of that day it’s almost like we press restart and look ahead to the next day rather than taking those few minutes to say, “Hey, I actually got that done!”
Today I recommend you come up with a system to reflect at the end of the day on what you got done, so you can celebrate what’s done!
Productivity expert Claire Burge recommended to me an app called idonethis. The program sends you an email at the end of the day, and you reply to the email, listing what you did, as a way to document what you completed. You can look at a calendar that shows what you completed on any given day. It’s helpful for people who love digital solutions, but you could keep the list just as easily in a journal, notebook or Evernote note. However you go about it, I want you to reflect on what you did, and celebrate what’s done.
Even if you don’t make it all the way through your to-do list and you have to copy things over to the next day, you can still be satisfied at what you got done, and celebrate what’s done.
Listen for the full podcast.
- Claire Burge
- #14: Progress, Not Perfection
- All the Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach podcasts since day one
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It’s January … are you still playing?
This month I’m encouraging everyone—anyone, especially writers and other creatives—to take time out of every day to play.
- #PlayProject Update Week Two
- #PlayProject Update Week One
- Podcast episode #31: Play a Playful Year
- Main Play Project Page (complete with worksheets and inspiring quotes)
I like that app idea! I started thinking about this recently too, so every Sunday I write “What I accomplished this week” divided into 4 categories, for writing, health, work, and family. It makes me feel good to write, and enforces the understanding that so much can be accomplished with a relatively small amount of time. I’m not sure if I’d be up to doing it every day, but every week seems manageable.
Ann Kroeker says
That weekly reflection sounds great, Leanne. Sounds like it is working well.
When I do an end of day celebration of what’s done, it coordinates with prepping for the next day, so the daily thing doesn’t overwhelm.
Megan Willome says
This is so funny, but I do this by hand on a blank calendar I found on a day care website. I organize it into chunks, depending on what my life is like: maybe 3 weeks, maybe 4, maybe 5. It is super gratifying. I think I’ve been doing it for a year and a half.
Ann Kroeker says
I’m enjoying hearing from people like you, Megan, who have been doing this. My daily approach takes a micro-view of things: I made that phone call, finished the email, etc. Your approach seems like it would have a macro-view of things. Does that timing take you through the magazine cycle? Because that would offer tangible evidence of what’s done and *definitely* be something to celebrate.
carol longenecker hiestand says
i have revived a little spiral notebook this past week. I take two days at a time. With ADD I have to write everything down and I do mean everything. I mark off with highlighter and transfer things to the next page if i need to. (and because everything I think of is a possibility I am sure I can do that day, i transfer a lot.) Learning how to use the brain I have – compensating for the hard things so I can enjoy the good things and like the brain I have. It’s taken a long time and some therapy to get to the acceptance point.
I do have a master list where i dump ideas that don’t have to be done now, but need attention at some point. not a perfect sytem, but it does work pretty well for me for awhile at least, until I try something else. I usually end up back here though. Helps me feel less untethered.
Ann Kroeker says
Carol, your system sounds great, especially to create a way to love how you process the world. I hope someone reads this and finds hope that they can work within the way of their mind’s view. You say you’ve gotten to this point of acceptance–I hope you can begin to see it at the next level: as a strength.
Janis@Heart-Filled Moments says
Great encouragement, Ann!
Monica Sharman says
A quick idea for the end of #playproject month:
At grocery stores and other stores with automatic swinging doors, extend your hand and do a Star Wars “Force push” right before the door opens. It makes me laugh every time.
I organize it into chunks, depending on what my life is like: maybe 3 weeks, maybe 4, maybe 5. It is super gratifying. I think I’ve been doing it for a year and a half. Where such information?
Ann Kroeker says
Well, you sound like you’ve really thought things through in a way that works for you. I don’t know where such information resides, but it doesn’t quite fit with this post. Maybe you should write and publish on it? I think organizing in chunks can be a great solution for lots of things.