Whether you like it or not, the world seems to revolve around “the list”. We have lists of things we need to do, lists of things to pick up at the store, lists of things to pack to go on vacation, lists of exercises to complete. The list of lists goes on and on and to make it even better, now we even have phone apps and programs that will help us manage our lists. Hooray, for us!!!
Often times, when we first start working with a client, they have lots of ideas and thoughts about what they need to or should be doing. Inevitably they will have some sort of list. It could be in their task file on their computer, it could be in a book (and in some cases, lots of them) or it could be on scraps of paper piled up in an office. In whatever form, we like to call it the “list of good intentions”.
The “list of good intentions”, is really the list of passing thoughts we have, that in the moment seem like such good ideas, we don’t want to lose them. We tell ourselves we are going to get to them, but somehow time slips away and a majority of them never get done, and yet they remain on the list.There is nothing more satisfying than knowing you are getting things done, so in order to facilitate this, we use this simple exercise.
- Every night, before you end your day, take a few moments and write down on a queue card or recipe card, the things you are committed to getting done the following day.
Sounds simple, however, here is the trick. When you write down something on that queue card, you make a commitment to yourself that no matter what, you are going to do it. No excuses. Even if the world falls over or you have to stay up far later than you normally do, you will do whatever it takes to get that item done. You are making a commitment to yourself.
This simple technique is powerful because it does a couple of things.
- It has you identify what is critical, outside of the fray of the day to day.
- It builds focus, because you know that if you let other things get in the way, then you will be working far into the night to get your items done.
- It allows you to feel accomplished, each and every day, because you will know you have fulfilled a commitment to yourself.
The most important thing in this exercise is to be reasonable with yourself. You don’t need to have fifteen items on the card every day and in fact, there will be some days when you may only have one. You don’t even have to start big and in fact, it is probably better if you don’t. Understand you are training yourself to really do the things you believe are important and in doing so, before long you will find the “list of good intentions”, will become the “cards of accomplishment”.