Image courtesy Sponge Bob!
Last week I was listening to an archived panel about time management techniques from a recent online conference. Although the featured expert, Janet Bailey, had lots of helpful insight, it was event organizer and panel moderator Terry Kate who had the most awesome time management suggestion I have heard in a long time. I like to refer to it as the "Go Me!" approach.
Everyone knows that the To Do List is a big time management tool. It is supposed to help you organize your thoughts, prioritize your tasks and keep you focused on the job at hand. I for one love the feeling of getting out my pen and putting a big slash mark through an item on my list. However, Terry Kate brought up a different perspective on the old To Do List. The fact that it causes pressure.
That damn list can get so foreboding sometimes. All of these big tasks or important but annoying items to be done. The list has them just staring at you - reminding you of your shortcomings. Your laziness. A peek at the list can send you running to your e-mail, Twitter or Facebook accounts to pass the time more pleasurably while procrastinating the day away.
Terry Kate's solution to this pressure is to ditch the To Do List entirely. Instead, she starts with a clean sheet of paper and creates an Accomplishment List. How awesome is that?!
Every thing that Terry Kate does throughout her day goes on her Accomplishment List. She starts off small - Take Shower, for example. Take Walk For Coffee. Things like that. They are important. Getting up and joining the waking world is a big deal, especially if your day is spent working at home. These tasks get her going and help her to build up steam and motivation on her Accomplishment List.
Now instead of a never ending list of things to do, she has an encouraging list of things she's done. Woo-hoo! Go Me! Maybe next is tackling that research she was hoping to get to. Or washing the dishes. Finishing an ARC needing a review. Go grocery shopping. Tinker around with her blog design. Do the laundry. Reach out to that blogger with connections to a network she wants to be a part of. Organize her photos. These things that start as ideas and become accomplishments are less stressful than when they are presented as a big list of things hanging over your head.
Making a list of accomplishments is a lot more enjoyable than making a list of things to cross off. Sometimes, a simple way of approaching things from a different perspective is all it takes to change your mood, mindset and motivation.