Toss Your To-Do List. This is Better.
There is a significant benefit of growing older and wiser, figuring out what works in most areas of life. The school of hard knocks is a great place to master most areas of life - including productivity.
I'm always amazed at how much time people fritter away deciding how to be more productive—always trying to keep up with their never-ending daily list of things. Eventually, though, we all learn that a good life will always offer more opportunities than you can ever use. The day will come when it becomes easier to focus on what’s important and yields consistent results.
I ran into that when I learned to fly little airplanes.
Aviation is over one hundred years old. That means new pilots experience information overload as their Instructor crams their brain full. And flying airplanes can be unforgiving when you get things wrong. That causes you to micro-focus on little details - especially when performing your Pre-Flight Checklist.
One day, while walking to our airplane, I was freaking out. I was finding it impossible to remember the thousands of items that make for a safe flight. I remember saying -
"There is so much on my list, and I keep thinking I'm going to miss something and get myself hurt… or worse."
My Instructor smiled…
"That's not a list of everything you need to do. It's a Checklist for what to do now. I like to think of it as my DID I DO IT LIST. That way, I'm only double-checking that I did the important stuff."
From that day forward, I embraced the "Did I Do It" philosophy in flying. It also became the mantra for how I go about getting things done.
Why does it work?
A "Did I Do It List" assumes that you already know what you must accomplish. All you have to do is make sure you've done it. It allows you to release the stress of information overload and enjoy yourself more. Plus, the serotonin boost you get from seeing how much you have accomplished feels great.