Like every other person who goes to work, walks their dog, shuttles around kids and spends time with friends, there never seems to be enough hours in the day, days in a week or months in a year. There are always things that I want to get done and things that need to get done. For many of us, there in lies the biggest challenge of our days – how to decide what is a want and what is a need?
I know from my experience navigating a career, family and involvement in my community, when those lines between want and need start to blur, production on my end comes to a stop. To keep this from happening, I practice the classic, traditional ‘art of the list’.
My days begin with a list. My list grows at each passing hour, but more importantly my list also shrinks throughout that same day. When I shut down for the day, my list barely resembles the list I saw 12 hours earlier. This discipline keeps me always progressing and moving forward. Mistakes are made, goals are missed, deadlines are over looked. These hardships are a fact of life but I have found that I have been able to minimize these mistakes, plus my stress levels and balance in life are properly governed using the ‘art of the list’.
My advice for potential list makers: start small and follow through. Jot down 5 things that you would think to do naturally. Actually write them down on paper. Look at them. Digest them and the process. Then with each task completed on the list, take a big red marker and cross it off. You’ll be amazed how good it feels. Even small, seemingly simple accomplishments and successes provide our bodies with the dopamine release we all crave for satisfaction and control. You’ll fast become a happier, more efficient person who can accomplish more and prioritize life.
Drink a glass of water.
Feed the dog.
Call a friend.
Open a door for a stranger.
Take 5 minutes to smile.
Now try it with your tasks at work.