Today’s post is by Danielle Porter, an amazing member of Team LearnDoBecome!
Working from a solid “Next Actions List” is one of the most basic components of the STEP system here at LearnDoBecome. This context-based list–organized with the five categories of “home, computer, phone calls, errands, and items to discuss”–keeps me keyed in on what needs to be done within the week, and it’s not calendar specific, so I can get things done on my terms.
I create this powerful list during my Weekly Review–choosing only the most necessary tasks that will leverage my projects and general life needs, and I refer to it daily. It feels amazing to wrap up each week, having accomplished most, if not all, of the items on my list.
(Interested in your own Next Actions List? Read on–there’s a free download below!)
Many days, however, I am doing quite a bit, but not getting things done like I had planned.
I often run my pen down the list in my planner without making a single check mark.
Sound familiar? I discovered that very often life was “getting in the way” of my tasks.
Instead of efficiently running to the bank, grocery store and library, my errand time escaped while chatting with a friend who dropped by. Rather than filing papers and organizing the closet like planned, I found myself reading books to my toddler. The time dedicated to catching up on emails was replaced with enjoying a walk with my family on an early spring day.
While I didn’t regret these beautiful opportunity costs, I wasn’t feeling fulfilled by them. In the moment, I didn’t see them as truly valuable–only that they were taking up space for what needed to get done.
I felt a little cheated on both sides; not only was I not getting everything done, but I wasn’t even fully experiencing the things I could be enjoying.
I determined to start noting the things I was doing– even if those experiences weren’t previously defined.
What started as a slowly-growing “grateful list” in the back of my planner turned into a daily log of “Happy Success” moments listed directly to the right of my Next Actions List.
This simple act is changing how I get things done.
I am filled with more feelings of abundance in completing tasks that matter. I am savoring the important–but not “productive” experiences. I am loving it!
I continue to check in on my Next Actions List throughout the day, and then at night I take a few minutes to review things I can add to my “Happy Success List.”
My notes are realistic and never glamorous.
I have listed things such as the following:
- Listened to a child without interrupting
- Took a deep breath when I wanted to stress
- Stayed up past my goal bedtime to chat with husband
- Only got upset one time with a particular child today
- Brushed my teeth an extra time just because it felt good
- Said a prayer for a stranger
- Actually looked at my food before I ate it (and took time to enjoy it)
- Listened to my favorite playlist
- Noticed good energy from my breakfast smoothie
- Wrote a quick thank you email to a teacher
Now that both lists are equally utilized, I am feeling both the thrill of completing Next Actions and also recognizing (and looking for!) ways to strengthen relationships, take care of myself, and enjoy life more fully.
If your “To-Do List” is too long and you are finding you can’t seem to keep up, check out how we can help you create your own Context Based Next Action List (our free class will walk you through the process!). Pair this with your own Happy Success List and you’ll be unstoppable–and happier.
***And if you want to take a moment below to comment just ONE thing that you would write on your “Happy Success List” this week, that would be amazing. 🙂