Crossing something off your to-do list is the ultimate high — but it’s too often coupled with the low of realising how muchdidn’tget finished.
That’s why you should start a “done list.”
In contrast with a to-do list, a done list catalogues everything completed that day, showing you how much progress you made instead of highlighting what’s still left to do.
In a post on The Science of Us blog, Melissa Dahl advocates having one, arguing that it serves as a needed ego boost.
Even if a crisis pops up and draws your attention away from the projects you planned to tackle that day, you’re able to see that the day wasn’t a waste because you accomplished something, Dahl says.
Additionally, a done list reveals your weaknesses, which helps you improve your productivity. As an example, Dahl points to Laura Vanderkam’s “168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think,” in which Vanderkam explains how dieters who kept daily food journals tended to lose more weight because they began to notice unhealthy patterns in their eating habits.
The done list applies this same principle to productivity: After seeing what we’ve accomplished — or didn’t — each day, we’re able to identify trends in our own lives.
Dahl isn’t the only one touting the benefits of the done list. Harvey Schachter at The Globe And Mail reports that making progress on important projects improves your long-term productivity. As it turns out, a sense of accomplishment proves to be a stronger motivator than monetary awards or public recognition. “It’s a sense that we are accomplishing something meaningful day by day,” he says.
Although no scientific studies have officially endorsed the done list, it can be a valuable hack in making your day more productive and providing that sense of accomplishment we all crave.
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