Guest Post: Just a check mark away: using lists to keep motivation.

I came across a lovely writer with a unique name, Dare. I find that her work is both entertaining and enriching just like the one I am sharing below. If you love what you are reading, why not drop by her blog at https://darienrae.wordpress.com/ for more! 


I am addicted to checking off lists. Yes, you read that right. I find strange satisfaction in crossing off lists. I use lists for everything, from grocery shopping to blogging ideas to achieving my biggest goals. Although the little short-term lists are important, I’m going to share my experience using the big ones, the ones that take a couple of years to complete because I believe those are the most important ones to keep.

To achieve my biggest life goals, I’ve created three different types of lists:

The first list, the big magical guy, lists out all of my wildest dreams and wishes that I want to pursue in my life. This list contains anything I dream of doing and who I envision being. It’s motivated by the question, “If you were reaching the end of your days, what would you want to look back and remember? What stories would you want to tell?” It’s also inspired by the ever-famous question, “What would you want your tombstone to say?”  My imagination loves this list because it gets to run wild. I dream of going to Africa one day, to advance in my dream career, and to stay fit and toned to name a few. Of course, as time goes on and life changes, so does the list.

My next list asks, “What are you doing this week to get there?” Here, I list all of the things that are possible to accomplish this week to get one small (sometimes big) step closer to crossing something off that big magical list. For things like getting fit and toned, I would write, “Work out at least twice this week.” For bigger wishes, like traveling to Africa or finding my dream career, the steps are minor, such as, “Research this industry,” or “contact this person,” or “apply to this job/volunteer.”

At the end of the week, I make a new list. This list is my accomplishment lists. Everything I have completed in my weekly “what are you doing to get there” list get placed in my weekly accomplishment list. This list is very important because I can see how I am making progress every week and it’s quite rewarding to look at.

The one frustrating part about keeping these lists is that the lists never end. As I keep checking things off, more things get added on. I’ll never feel that satisfaction of completely finishing everything so that I can spend countless hours by the pool sipping on a margarita with no obligations. But that’s also the beauty of it. Because life always gives you a new hurdle to jump, nothing is ever complete. There is always something to improve and perfect.

So in honor of lists, I’m going to list out how keeping these lists can be quite beneficial.

1. Visual organization.

For a person like me who gets disorganized and overwhelmed easily, keeping these lists helps me organize and prioritize my thoughts and responsibilities. Sometimes I have no idea what it is I’m thinking, so I list out every thought that comes to mind until I look it over and reach a conclusion. Other times, I feel that I have so much to do that I begin to feel overwhelmed. Listing out everything that needs to be done helps me prioritize my tasks. I’m pretty visual, so seeing my thoughts physically helps me understand my next steps.

2. Accountability.

I tend to think more than I do and plan more than I achieve. Eventually I got tired of feeling slow or stable and I wanted to be sure that I was consistently moving forward. By adding weekly deadlines, I’m able to physically see that if I don’t finish at least one thing this week, then my list will only be much bigger next week, because as I mentioned earlier, as things get checked off, more is always added.

3. It’s a game.

Tracking my weekly accomplishments is like a game in that each week gives out a score. Say I accomplished 7 things on my list last week. This week I want to beat my high score and accomplish 8 tasks. Of course, beating my accomplishment “high score” not always realistic due to time. Some tasks take more time than others. But it’s fun to look at the numbers and to try to beat my most productive week.

4. It’s reassuring.

I’m human. And because of that, my self esteem is low sometimes. I feel lazy, unmotivated, or might have even had a bad day. On days when I’m down, it helps to look at all I have done in the week, or even in the past. Then I’m reassured that I’m really not that lazy piece of shit I have been feeling like and telling myself that I am all day. I also found that I get anxious when I haven’t touched or even glanced at my lists for a few days. I begin to feel lost and overwhelmed about where I’m at because I allowed this tiny structure to disappear. But once I take a look at my list, I realize that I’m really not that unstable and I can see the direction I am headed with my life.

Those are just a few reasons why checking off lists has became a weird satisfaction of mine. Maybe I’m addicted, or maybe I’m motivated. Whatever it is, it’s helping me get one step closer to where I want to be each week.

 

 

Shoutout to Trello for keeping me organized!


img_1424Hey, I’m Darien.

For years, my friends have called me Dare. I’m one of those hundreds of recent college graduates who are struggling to find their way in the world. Instead of dreaming of the things I wanted to be doing, I decided to live by my name and dare to live the things dreamed of doing. I’ve always dreamed of writing since I could remember, so I’ve started this blog to capture the way in which I will find, follow, live, and breath my passion… whatever that may be. I hope that in doing so, I will have learned many things to share with you here.

Cheers to daring to live in passion!

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s