There’s a good reason why making to-do lists is highly recommended when it comes to productivity. It helps you stay on top of your tasks and is a great way to keep yourself accountable. But sometimes these lists can be exhausting because as soon as you’ve checked one item off, there seems to be another assignment that needs attending to. Therefore, some people choose to follow an Anti To-do List, or a Have-Done List instead.
What is a Have-Done List?
If you’ve found that to-do lists feel like a chore or increase stress and anxiety, maybe Have-Done Lists will work better for you. Rather than feeling awful about your incomplete tasks, having a list of things you’ve completed throughout the day will leave you feeling accomplished. Include even trivial tasks like making the bed or doing the laundry. Hopefully, this serves as a reminder to take it easy on yourself, especially on days when you can’t give your 100%. The least you could do is try your best.
Celebrate Small Wins
Celebrating your wins, no matter how small, will help you feel great about yourself. After all, doing something is always better than doing nothing. Once the ball starts rolling, it might even inspire you to get more things done. The Progress Principle notes, “The more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. […] Even a small win can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.”
Compete with Yourself
You decide what a productive day looks like. If you were feeling unwell or too tired that day and weren’t able to follow your usual routine, don’t feel guilty for taking a break and prioritizing your needs. Focus on your own accomplishments and stop comparing your progress to others. Just because they are doing more, it doesn’t mean you are doing less.
Consider your Priorities
When you look at your list and realize how many things you’ve actually accomplished, notice which particular tasks take up most of your time. Maybe the problem isn’t being unmotivated or unproductive — it’s the inability to stay focused on an assignment because you were too busy multitasking. Zero in on the things you really want to be working on and you’ll find yourself with extra time for leisurely activities.
It might seem counterintuitive to add another task to your table, but it will only take a few minutes. Write down your wins, track your progress to see how much closer you are to achieving your goals, and feel accomplished at the end of the day.