Sitting in the top left of my browser’s tabs, always open, is a Google Docs document titled TODO. This document essentially contains my current state and my aspired state. It contains everything I want to accomplish in the next few days, the next months, and in the longer term. It contains all my ideas and thoughts. Lastly, it contains my Bucket List - a list of experiences and aspirations I’d like to achieve while on this planet.
Creating a life TODO list is one the most useful things I’ve ever done. It doesn’t need to be anything special, mine’s just a series of bullet points in no particular order, but the very act of committing your goals and ideas to paper seems to make them that much more tangible and achievable.
It turns out that there have been numerous studies showing that writing down your goals has a measurable impact on actually achieving them. Dr. Gail Matthews from the Dominican University in California performed a study which concluded that those who committed their goals to paper, and shared them with a friend, were 33% more likely to achieve them than those that merely formulated goals.
Naturally this list is in constant flux, and as I grow older my priorities change. The essence is still there though and my initial hopes and ambitions aren’t watered down or compromised. Putting my life goals next to my todo list forces me to see them every day.
Creating this list has provided me with a few things. Firstly, a sense of accomplishment. I can see my progress, and cross things off as I go along. This also helps me break down more overwhelming and ambitious tasks into smaller manageable pieces, thus completing more.
Secondly, it prevents distraction, and lets me focus on things that are truly important to me rather than mere diversions. As soon as I wake up I know my current state and what needs to be done.
Lastly, this list provides perspective. It pitches my current concerns against the bigger picture which, more often than not, trivializes them. It’s a sounding board for future decisions and goals.
So perhaps making a Life TODO list can be your New Year’s resolution. I realize this maybe old-hat to some of you, but having one has certainly helped me navigate life’s turbulent waters.