3-Item To Do List

I LOVE the feeling of accomplishment. I didn’t say I love getting things done, because I ABHOR busy work. If you give me something to do, or suggest an activity, my first response is usually, What’s the purpose? And if you don’t have a good answer, then I’m not going to be very excited to help (my poor parents – no wonder my teenage years were so tumultuous!) Anyway, before this post evolves into a thesis on Goal Setting as a Means of Finding Meaning in Life (which will be the title of my New York Times bestseller because it has such a ring to it, no?), allow me to get back to my first thought.

I LOVE the feeling of accomplishment. So here’s how I get my fix every day – I make myself a To Do List with ONLY 3 THINGS on it. For example, today’s list was:

  1. Write a new blog post (my audience of 8 followers are depending on me!)
  2. Do 2 loads of laundry
  3. Make banana bread

What’s key here is how I decide what to put on the list. Since I finally pulled the trigger on the whole blogging thing (yes, rather late to the game, I know!), I set a goal to write a post every weekday for the foreseeable future. However, I also have a rule that I only put 1 difficult/time consuming task on my list every day. So the next 2 tasks had to be much easier. I actually wanted to do 3 loads of laundry, but that would have made that a hard task (since the other load was our bedroom sheets, and I would have had to delay making the bed, which would have crept into my blogging time). And task #3 was important for several reasons: #1, my husband is eating leftovers tonight since I’m going to coffee with a friend, so I decided to make his favorite dessert (this assuages my guilt), #2, it takes care of Sunday morning breakfast since I made a second one and popped it in the freezer, and #3, it will eradicate the fruit fly population (this is actually the real reason!)

So, if you are judging me thinking, Is that all she does all day long?, the answer is NO! I have routines in place for all the piddly stuff that doesn’t make it onto the list. The piddly stuff is all the day-to-day chores that need to get done, but will also have to be done tomorrow, and the day after that, and the week after that, and the month after that, etc. There’s just not much of a sense of accomplishment to be had from vacuuming or cleaning the bathrooms, since there’s a good chance that they’re not even going to look done in about 4 hours. So I build those things into my daily routines. And I try to get my routines done BEFORE I start on my list. This is just a way for me to distinguish between what would be nice to get done, and what HAS to get done.

And when I hit publish on this post, I will have accomplished the third item on my list, and get to pat myself on the back! Then I’ll give myself permission to do something fun (probably reading,piano playing, or eating the banana bread), or do some extra credit (stuff I wanted to get done today, but wouldn’t allow myself to put on my 3 Item list, such as learning more about blog design).

There you have it, a simple solution to getting things done, limiting myself from starting projects that I have no hope of finishing today anyway, and feeling good about it!

(Feel free to share your system for getting things done or feeling good about yourself!)

2 Replies to “3-Item To Do List”

  1. This is a great idea to put a limit on the goals you’re going to do, which causes you to really consider what you’ll put on the list. I list everything, even the small stuff, so I can cross it off my list. I’ve even been known to write it on my list after I’ve done it just so I can cross it off! 🙂

    1. aprilpearl@sbcglobal.net says: Reply

      Too funny!

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