When I sent the draft of my book manuscript to my publisher, and finally hit the “send” button, my emotions ranged from joy to relief to fear to excitement. This book, Eat the Elephant: Overcoming Overwhelm, has been my primary project for the past five months. It is a labor of love, but it came with a healthy dose of angst and stress. It seemed that my completion of the manuscript should be acknowledged by something more than saying, “Whew!” to myself.
This is why I use a Ta Da list along with my To Do list. Whenever you complete a big project, or even an item on your daily To Do list, you need to recognize your accomplishment. We all have what seem to be endless To Do lists, and usually the only recognition we give ourselves when we complete an item is to scratch it off the list. In fact, I know some people who write something on the To Do list that they have already done just so they can scratch it off. At the end of the day, we grudgingly transfer the undone items to the next day’s to do list, and throw away the used list. At the end of the week all that we see is what remains undone. Bummer.
What if we took a different approach and added a Ta Da list to our daily routine? In addition to scratching an item off the To Do list when it is completed (that is particularly satisfying to most people), why not list your accomplishments on another list – your Ta Da list and post it where you will see it often – the fridge, the bathroom mirror, the wall in your office, the dashboard of the car – anywhere you will be reminded that despite all of the items remaining on the To Do list, you have accomplished a lot. Neuroscience has proven that it takes three positive messages to counteract one negative one. Let’s get started on recognizing our accomplishments and not just what is left to do.