I’m in LOVE with my lists! They keep me organized, calm and “in control” (for the most part) – and during this unsettling and scary time in our lives, my lists bring me comfort, feel familiar and keep me sane.
But sometimes I get a bit obsessed with my lists and overwhelmed with the hundreds of items that never seem to go away and just LOVE to follow me around . . . poking at me, taunting me, whispering to me that I am not working hard enough or fast enough or long enough.
When this happens – which is almost every damn day – I look for the next “best thing” (a book, an app, a TED talk) that will help me “stay on track” and “cross off 50 tasks a day without breaking a sweat.” I may search for the perfect journal or datebook or pen that will magically make me more efficient and less overwhelmed with my many many many lists (yep, I’ve got lots of categories).
But I am here to tell you my beautiful people that there is NO magic journal or datebook or pen or phone app or computer program that will take it all away! Your lists will always be by your side for the rest of your amazing life – so why not make peace with them, invite your lists to sit down at your kitchen table for a cup of tea and perhaps even become friends!!
It CAN happen . . . and here’s how I am doing it!!
First of all, EVERNOTE!!! It’s free (I think) and you can have an app on your phone and your computer . . . and they sync!! It’s amazing!
This is where I have all my categories and sub categories and sub sub categories!! They are called “notebooks” and you can add as many as your heart desires!! It’s a really good place to “brain dump” so all those things swirling around in that big beautiful brain of yours can be put down somewhere, making room for more important stuff like . . . “What will I bake today?” or “What time is happy hour?” or “What episode of Tiger King are we on?” Ya know . . . super important life stuff!
The other discovery I want to share with you comes from one of my favorite writers and Martha Beck Master Life Coaches Katherine North! Her writing gives me goosebumps and her spirit is so true, that I knew her book recommendation would be fabulous!!
“The Checklist Book” written by Alexandra Franzen. It’s all you’re gonna need people and it will change your life!!
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about this book because I am hoping many of you will add it to your reading list (it’s a super easy read – 171 pages that have lots of pictures, worksheets and large print – I finished it in just a few hours) AND to be completely transparent . . . I’m keeping this blog short and sweet so I can check it off my list for today!! 🙂So here are the highlights . . .
- Alexandra is a great writer using lots of life examples that we can all relate to!
- Super “user friendly” tools and techniques that can be put to good use immediately!
- Her 4 intentions for writing this book: “set realistic goals” “celebrate tiny wins” “reduce stress and overwhelm” “feel calmer every day” . . . doesn’t that sound like something the entire world needs right about now!
- “One Day. One Page. Brevity is key,” Alexandra writes “You want your Daily Checklist to include the most important tasks and moments of your day (which feels good), but without being excessively detailed and lengthy (which feels overwhelming).
For me, Evernote is my “excessively detailed and lengthy” list which is ok with me because I check in with my Evernote list at the end of the day to create my “one day one page” list for the following day to keep that overwhelm at a safe distance!
- “Checkmark, not Strike – Through” Once you have completed a task, use a checkmark instead of drawing a line through the task (this was a HUGE change for me)! “Why? Because it’s important to see AND celebrate your victories throughout the day rather than obliterating them!”
- “Overall Flow, But NOT Rigid” Listen up perfectionists . . . this ones for you!! “Your Daily Checklist shows the overall flow of your day, from the moment you wake up to your final moments of the night. However, it doesn’t need to be rigid, tight and restrictive. This is about setting a clear intention for your day, but it’s NOT about perfection.” Feel free to skip around and be flexible with your list, and it’s ok if you don’t check everything off your list every day!
Let me repeat that one: IT IS OK IF YOU DON’T CHECK EVERYTHING OFF YOUR LIST EVERY DAY!!!
- One of my biggest “aha moments” as I devoured this book was the section about “adding a few easy wins” first thing in the morning to my Checklist. Like . . . making my bed, putting on my workout clothes or making coffee for my Babe. Alexandra explains, “By adding a few easy wins to your checklist, this helps you begin your day on a victorious note. As you check off these first tiny goals, you feel rewarded – thanks to dopamine in your system. You want to keep going. You feel proud of yourself. There’s a feeling of action, aliveness, movement and momentum – things are in motion! Your day has barely begun, and it’s off to a great start!!” YES PLEASE!!
- Alexandra has lots of kick ass templates in her book, downloads and resources that make it SO easy to become the queen of your own “one page one day” list!
- She also has suggestions for all kinds of Checklists for those of us who can’t get enough – “The Loose-End Checklist, Seasonal Checklist, Survival Checklist, The Workout Checklist” . . .
- She explains that no two days in life are exactly the same, and neither are our Checklists. This totally makes sense to me and my lists vary greatly depending on my perkiness, my cycle, the weather, if I’ve had enough water or too much coffee! Alexandra tells us to “update your list daily, setting your intentions and making your plans for the next day. Your plan for tomorrow might be very similar (practically identical) to the one today, or it might not be!”
There are SO MANY more nuggets of wisdom in “The Checklist Book” so check it out NOW!!!!
Alexandra’s concepts have helped me simplify my lists and CELEBRATE the tiny wins that I used to just take for granted or not even “count” as being productive or worthy of a checkmark!! Now I even write down “sex with Andrew” on my list and that’s been a game changer!! 😉
So think about grabbing this book here – you won’t be disappointed – I promise!!
And please please send photos of your lists to me and Alexandra . . . share the love and the goosebumps!!!