To-do lists are useful: They keep us on track and on schedule. They remind us of meetings and appointments, errands and more. But, let’s face it: To-do lists can be a little boring.
Meet the fun relative of to-do: the “ta-da!” list. The flip side of a list of items that must be tackled, the ta-da list recognizes and even celebrates all that you have already accomplished.
Some days we feel overwhelmed with things to do, places to go, people to see. We might think we have achieved very little before turning out the lights, with plans to do it all again the next day.
A ta-da list, however, offers concrete proof of what you have accomplished, which is often surprising. This list can also feed into gratitude – and the more grateful we are, the less likely we are to burn out, according to a UC-Berkeley white paper.
Do not worry about feeling silly (you can call it something else, if you prefer) as you create your ta-da list. On paper, tablet, phone or computer, craft a list of everything you have done thus far today, then continue building the list. This list can be comprised of big and little things: drove to work, dropped the kids at school, made coffee, made a big sale. You might even have fun developing the list as you recognize what you are able to do (or say no to) in just one day.
Not only is this list a chance for you to see how much you do in a given day, it can help you plan your schedule in the future, if you detect places where you have extra, or not enough, time.
Likewise, a ta-da list entails a sense of recognition and celebration – a written pat-on-the-back. You can add in words of praise or stars for particular events or accomplishments. This exercise can also remind you of the importance of the small things – the fact that you visited a sick friend, that you completed another semester in a graduate program or that you exercised four times this week.
While you may not create a ta-da list every single day, turning your to-do list on its head can offer clarity, joy and pride in just a few words.
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