Being a Productivity Ninja raises all sorts of questions and assumptions about what I do – time keeper, time and motion expert, task master to name a few.
One common question raised is: does my work involve to-do lists?
The simple answer is yes – but it is so much more (but that is the subject of another blog post).
Lists are a key tool in the productivity system that we use at Think Productive UK and are part of the first stage (Capture) of the four stage workflow system.
One particular list that helps motivate me to keep creating and using lists is the Have Done List. Not another list I hear you say. No, I answer. The Have Done List is more a mental approach to the lists we already keep.
And it fits neatly into the third stage of our workflow system – the Review.
The Review is arguably the most important stage in the whole system for keeping your productivity system on track. And yet is often the first stage to go in maintaining many people’s system.
The Review stage requires that we take time, at least once per week, to review our system – to look at our lists, collection points, etc and ask questions like is our system working, is anything falling through the cracks? One reason I have often heard as to why we often leave this stage out is that reviewing our system is a bit like masochism – an opportunity to beat ourselves up for what we haven’t done.
The idea of a Have Done List is that we approach the Review with the sense of finding out what we have done. By doing so I have found that the focus creates more – more things to cross off. And therefore, more to celebrate. It means that instead of focusing on what’s not yet done – as important as that is – we can pat ourselves on the back for what we have done.
I have found that this approach means that I can look forward to weekly Reviews not just for the clarity it brings but also with a sense of joy at what I have achieved. I often conduct my own Reviews in the local coffee shop. My treat for beating my previous number of ‘have dones’ is to treat myself to an extra drink or cake – and yes my waist line is expanding (again a subject for another blog post).
The Have Done List isn’t an attempt to value quantity over quality (it is important to get the right things done) but this is an article to try to tempt some of us to change our thinking about lists and also the purpose of the Review.
Have you completed your Have Done List?