Or if you’re like me, you find yourself creating lists after the fact. Meaning, you jot things down AFTER completing them, just to experience the satisfaction of having something to cross off.
Or maybe you feel like your “to do” list never gets your attention because you’re too busy putting out fires and allowing other people’s requests to become your priorities.
Regardless…in the end…what do we have to show for progress toward our own goals and dreams?
What do we have other than a really busy schedule, with lots of things that distract us from our “real work”? Likely…all we have is a list with lots of things crossed off and limited progress toward bigger and more complicated projects.
So while we make them daily, have we ever stopped to ask ourselves if our “To Do” lists are getting in the way of our dreams, our goals, and our success?
As I was reading Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals, she suggested creating “Results” lists vs. “To Do” lists.
As I read and took notes, I started to think, “This just might work.” This might help simplify my life and help me stay focused on my goals.
Here are my thoughts about her suggestion to create “results” lists:
- A “results” list forces us to think about what we can accomplish vs. just things to do
- A “results” list ties our actions to our goals and holds us accountable to bigger projects
- A “results” list celebrates true success, not just the kind from crossing something off a list
So, are you wondering how to turn a “To Do” list into a “Results” list?
Here are my steps for creating a “results” list:
- Get specific. Avoid creating a list with open-ended statements like “work on” or “meet with“. Also avoid listing names of projects or broad tasks (e.g., modules for new client, revisions to online course). Instead be super specific about what you are going to do and quantify when you can (e.g., “Complete a final revision of six PPT slides.”).
- Use action verbs. Think of IEP goals and measurable words like complete, post, send, close, call, and edit. Even here, you may need more specificity such as in, “Complete two evaluations from start to finish”, or “Call three district leaders and set priorities for next meeting”.
- Less is more. Use the mantra “less is more” as you generate your list of results. Make sure the number of results is directly aligned with the actual amount of time you have on a given day. For example, if I know I have back to back meetings on Wednesday, then seriously, I should just pick one result that is doable vs. putting everything I ever hope to get done on the list.
- Align to goals. Lastly, speaking of alignment, always make sure you can draw a direct line or link between the result on your list and your goals. This helps you stay focused on your priorities and helps you avoid running around trying to please people or put out their fires.
What do you think?
Can a “results” list help you simplify your life while experiencing more success?
P.S. After several days of creating a “results” list, I’m seeing where the proverbial both-and is coming into play. Meaning, I can see that I may need a “To Do” list AND a “Results” list. That said, I can also see how a “results” list is helping to simplify my life and helping me resist the temptation to get caught up in the weeds…which I can then later cross off my “to do” list!