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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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The "I Did It" List

Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. Who knew that a quick overnight trip this past weekend would provide me with an idea for this week’s post?

After a long drive to Maryland, my husband and I arrived late Saturday night at the Courtyard Marriott. We had a family gathering to attend the following day.  We settled into our room. I got into bed and was about to read when I noticed a small pad of lined paper next to me on the bedside table provided by the hotel. The top of the pad had a title with a question below it:



Much more gratifying than a to-do list, don’t you think?”

I always enjoy surprise messages like this. I’ve seen ones on Yogi tea bag tags, the tape on the wrappers that hold the sandwiches together at Starbucks, and of course in fortune cookies. These notes sometimes make me laugh, or pause and think.

What about the “Accomplished List?” I love the possibilities that the pad suggested. Instead of writing down the things that you want to, need to, have to do on a particular day, it’s suggesting that you take inventory of what you already accomplished. If you are like me, you didn’t complete everything on your list, but you probably did a lot. We often tend to focus on what we didn’t do rather than what we did do.

What a lovely way to end the day, week or month with focusing on the positive! To-do lists are great for setting expectations, reaching goals, and imagining possibilities. The “Accomplished List” encourages you to reflect on and appreciate what you chose to complete.

It might be the beginning, middle or end of your day. Pause to jot down what you accomplished today, yesterday or last week. What are you most proud of? Come join the conversation to add your thoughts and share your most satisfying items from your accomplished list.

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Reader Comments (20)

I love looking at my "to do" list and seeing how it has become my accomplished list! This is a great exercise for reflecting on large chunks of time as well. For example, as part of the New Year's evening, celebrate accomplishments in addition to making resolutions!

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Love this! Many of my clients love to see the checks on their list, so this new twist will strike a chord for sure! Thanks for sharing this new perspective.

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

@Seana- Reflecting back about the past year's accomplishments is a tradition we've done for years with our girls each New Year's. We record our accomplishments, write our goals for the coming year, and re-read what we wrote the previous year. Each person gets their time to share and shine.

@Ellen- Nothing quite as affirming as those "check" marks. Taking the time to really appreciate what they represent helps with mindfulness, gratitude, and focus.

Wonderful to "hear" your voices!

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Love this! Very often I encourage my clients to think of all that they've done, rather than focusing on what remains To Do. Too often we forget how much we have indeed accomplished -- so yes, take time today to note what you have done and give yourself a pat on the back while you're at it!

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterColleen Ashe

Linda- Imagine this a "positive " way to look at To Do lists! Thanks for the reminder.

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnna Sicalides

Wow, interesting. I always erase my to do list as I get things done (I use a dry board) Making a list of accomplished things could lead us to a place with more happiness and less stress. It never occur to me but I think I'll try this approach, having my regular TDL on the board and a ATL (Accomplish Things List) on a notebook as a log. Great advice Linda

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

Linda, it's amazing what we stumble upon when we are not looking!
I love this idea, thank you!

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Seavey

Inspiration from a Marriott Courtyard? Wow! I love this. This is exactly why when I or one of my clients is trying to complete a goal, i always look behind me from where I came and not where I am going. So much better to see all that we have accomplished as opposed to what is left to do! Much more motivating.

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

What a wonderful heading on a notepad! A beautiful positive way to end the day, week, month or even year. Imagine a conversation at a New Year's Eve party which focuses on congratulating friends on their accomplishments rather than focusing on creating New Year's Resolutions!

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

Got a great idea from a post on Facebook in January. I keep a small jar on my desk and anytime someone in my family accomplishes something (lost tooth, went from crib to a bed, completed a major project, etc.) I write the accomplishment and the date on a post-it and place it in the jar. All post-its are read on December 31st to remind us all of our accomplishments and how far we've come this year. Can't wait for our 'Year in Review!'

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

It's a party here! How great to "hear" all of your wonderful voices!

@Colleen- Even the most confident among us need some acknowledgment. And what better way to get that than from our own doings?

@Anna- Happy to share the positive angle on the "to do" list.

@Nacho- Love the acronyms! Let me know how the two-list system works out for you. Sounds exciting!

@Rachel- Life is full of surprises, isn't it? Always on the look.

@Leslie- Reviewing the accomplishments can definitely be satisfying and as you said, "motivating." It can give us enough pause for that temporary bask, and then fuel us to move ahead.

@Diane- What a great idea, Diane to switch the focus completely away from resolutions! My family and I do a combo of past, present, and future. But as you said, focusing on past accomplishments could certainly provide content for some great conversations.

@Stacey- This is Oh, So Brilliant! I might have to copy you on this one and try it out. It's simple and recognizes as things happen and sets aside a specific time down the road to appreciate them all over again. Just beautiful!

October 29, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I use an electronic task manager and tasks disappear after I check them off. Next time I need a boost, I'll have to change my view (literally and figuratively) so I can see what I've accomplished! Thanks for sharing your inspiration.

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Janet- Like you, I also use an electronic task manager. As the items are crossed off, the text is grayed down. The "accomplished" items are visible for two days, but you have to switch the screen view to see them. I've often reviewed the "dones" to remind myself how much I actually did do. Having that perspective has been useful. Keep me posted with your experiment.

October 29, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

What a fun perspective! Thanks for posting this, Linda. I find that many of the items I post in my gratitude journal relate to task completed. Writing those down at night before falling asleep is like celebrating completion all over again. : )

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Sharb

Andrea- What a lovely way to celebrate or appreciate your completions! And even nicer that you're thinking about these accomplishments right before sleep. Must make for some great dreams!

October 29, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

What a lovely way to shift our perspective of ourselves to positive place. Thank you Linda. You always delight.

October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Lee

Thanks for this Linda- I love it! I just made another peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my youngest, packed his lunch and sent him off to school on the bus. That alone makes me grateful, happy and successful. He will be fed mind and body today and I acknowledge all that my husband and I have done to get him to this point with the help of our families, our community and beyond...we're very lucky and I appreciate that- mission accomplished.

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea Deinstadt

Great to "see" you both here this morning!

Denise- Thanks so much. We all have that positive/negative meter, which can be easily nudged in either direction. Just giving cause for the positive.

Andrea D.- Lovely sharing of your beautiful pause and mindfulness break. I love the connection you made between the daily doings (making a PB&J sandwich) and knowing how that act is part of the bigger picture (parenting your son.) Absolutely cause for celebrating "mission accomplished!"

October 30, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, this is great…love this. I actually posted this last month, "Embrace the "glass half-full" attitude and be grateful what you DID accomplish today. Tomorrow is a new day! Finesse your #timemanagement for the rest of the week." We are on the same page with this positive spin on accomplishments. It's so very important and essential in fueling us forward to the next step. It's precisely that energy that provides us with the motivation to continue full steam ahead!

October 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

Nancy- We are like two peas in a pod, aren't we? We are both sensors…taking in what we see, hear, feel…being mindful of where we are and what's around us. Focusing on the positive brings good changes in our well-being. As you said, those positive feelings are the fuel that allow us to move forward.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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