Personal Productivity

The “Done” List


“The best way to see forward is to look back”

Most success systems encourage goal setting.  Goals can be like a roadmap, directing us as to where to take our lives.  Apparently it’s a brain thing.

An article in “Psychology Today” says “It’s simply a fact: when people have goals to guide them, they are happier and achieve more than they would without having them…. Achieving a goal you’ve set produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of pleasure. Reciprocally, dopamine activates neural circuitry that makes you eager to pursue new challenges.”

So how do goals work?

“Goals provide focus. With no guiding vision or plan, people tend to drift. Goals provide a measuring stick for progress. Goals enhance productivity. They bolster self-esteem. And most of all, goals increase commitment, so you’re more likely to achieve whatever you set out to conquer.”

Daily Goals

Many find the daily setting of objectives or the setting of task lists a powerful motivator.  There is a real sense of achievement in crossing off items from that list.     Apparently this is where the dopamine is kicking in.

Unfortunately, not achieving what we set out to achieve can be negative.  Have you had a busy day, then looked at a To Do list that hasn’t got a single completer item?  Not very motivating is it?

The “To Done” List

So you had a busy day?  Why was it so busy?  Perhaps you did things that had to be done.

A “To Done” list involves writing down all the things you actually did like a task list, then tick them off.   You will be surprised how many things you write.  It can show that you may have accomplished some really worthwhile things.

The amazing thing is that you can get a similar effect to ticking off your objectives.  You get psychological reinforcement and get that feeling of genuine accomplishment.

This does not mean getting rid of “To Do”, but it does help remove the helplessness that can happen if you feel you’ve burnt up your time.

Do you feel that that your “accomplishments” were not so worthwhile?

Under your done list can also be helpful to create a “Keep Doing This” list and a “Stop Doing” list.    On the “Keep Doing” list, you can show items such as “Showing fearlessness when making an important phone call” or “Praised coworker for a job well done”.  On the “Stop Doing”, listing the things you’re not going to do in future gives a feeling of continuous improvement.

Understanding that our emotional state and ultimate success are consequences of our thinking open the door for positive change in our lives.  The action of writing a list seems to have such a major impact on us, either for the positive or negative.  The To Do and the Done list are powerful tools that every potentially successful person should consider.



“The Goals that guide us” –

“Forget the To Do List” –

iDoneWork –


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