Five years ago, I had very long to-do lists. Typically I’d write down twenty different tasks, on note pads meant for grocery lists, that needed to be done in one day. I didn’t get much done because my list was too overwhelming.
Now I have a new list making ritual. I write down a list of three important tasks I need to accomplish in a day. Three is a good number for me because I can get most of the things on my list done. Every morning, I write down my list on a 3x5 card, with a cup of coffee in my hand, and some kind of sugary treat near my computer.
Here’s what today’s list looked like, along with a short explanation. . .
1. Write an article for Your Lovely Life.
My main goal for the day was writing one article for Create Space, a lovely course that Courtney and I created. I finished up the article which, resulted in a brainstorming session for our next course Make Time. You can read about how I capture ideas here.
Currently I’m reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talkingby Susan Cain and love the book! I’m an introvert and Cain’s blend of personal stories and research helped me better understand myself. Her book is a gift and I believe both introverts and extroverts would benefit from reading Cain’s words.
I started swimming as a kid and still love the activity. When I lived in Davis, California, I swam with a team and I miss it! Recently, I started swimming laps again. It gives me time to think about articles and other fun projects. Even though I miss the team, I enjoy swimming alone because it’s challenging. As Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi once said, “Enjoyment appears at the boundary between boredom and anxiety, when the challenges are just balanced with the person’s capacity to act.”
Parting Words . . .
Interestingly, I do more than what’s on my list throughout the day. In addition to my list of three, I'll write essays, go for a bike ride, talk to my mom on the phone and have a lovely dinner with Logan. Most of the time my minimal list takes the pressure off my day and it’s a great way to prioritize what’s important in life.