Have you ever had one of those days where you worked your tail off but still couldn't check many items off your "to do" list? I've had several days like that, and I hate looking at that list feeling as if I've gotten nothing done; worse is the vague feeling of failure as I carefully copy all of the old items onto the next day's list. It's not exactly a ticket to leaving your workplace in a terrific mood.
The last few days, I've been trying something a little different. Right next to my "to do" list, I keep another list entitled "accomplishments."
Every hour or so, when I get up from my desk to stretch my legs, I take a little time to think back on how I've spent the previous 60 minutes. What have I gotten done? The answers to that question go on my "accomplishments" list.
That list has been a lifesaver for me in a couple of ways. First, it is visual proof that I have not spent the day leafing through magazines or sunbathing on my patio. I actually have gotten things done, even if those things don't happen to be the ones written on the almighty "to do" list.
The second benefit of keeping track of my accomplishments is that it allows me to see exactly where my time and energy are being directed. A couple of days ago, for instance, I realized I'd spent a large part of my day reassuring an anxious client. The next day, I prioritized her project and completed it. Problem solved. (And the next time that client contacts me, I guarantee my schedule will be "too backed up" to deal with her project.)
Finally, my "accomplishments" list is a great early warning system that lets me know when my work schedule is getting lop-sided. For instance, if I see that I'm spending all my time working on current assignments and no time pounding the pavement to find new ones, I realize I need to adjust my priorities.
Most of all, though, my "accomplishments" list allows me to end the day with a little rush of success instead of the disappointment of not completing all the items on my "to do" list. I find myself going into the personal aspect of my life in a much better mood, which puts those around me in a better mood, as well. Always a good thing!
Do you keep an "accomplishments" list? What accomplishments are you proudest of completing this week?