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Using the Ta-Da List

Young Man imagePhoto courtesy of skidrd

For many years now, I have, like many others, kept a daily to-do list to help me accomplish my daily tasks as well as my long-term goals. This doesn’t mean that I am always able to accomplish everything that’s on my list. On the contrary – more times that I care to admit, I am unable to cross off more than a couple of items. Now in the past, I used to get extremely frustrated with myself for slacking on my to-do list and would constantly beat myself up over my inability to accomplish what I had promised myself I would do. I found that often, being unable to accomplish the things on my to-do list instilled feelings of inadequacy.

Do you do this? Do you feel guilty when you are unable to accomplish everything on your list?

What I think is important to remember – to think about – is not how much we didn’t get done during the day but rather how much we accomplished. Awhile back, I was reading one of Julia Cameron’s books and she mentioned a favorite tool of hers: The “Ta Da List”. How this works, is rather than list out everything we need to get done, the Ta Da List celebrates everything that we accomplish throughout the day.

As I tend to journal at the end of the day, I began to get in the habit of ending my journal with a Ta Da List and I was actually more than surprised at everything that I achieved during the day. I helped me to realize that I was in fact accomplishing quite a bit every day. It also helped me to understand that I am only human and there will be those days where I just can’t quite get around to everything I had intended. People stop by, emergencies pop up, customers demand extra attention – these little things are a part of life and life is about the unexpected.

The Ta Da List not only allows you to celebrate what you have done during the day, but it also helps you to understand where you spend your energy during the day, perhaps pinpointing those little time-wasters in your life.

Here is an example of my Ta Da List so far today:

  1. Did 45 minutes of morning meditation
  2. Took 3 mile walk
  3. Wrote 2 pages of my new book
  4. Wrote out two sections of courseware
  5. Practiced harp for an hour and a half
  6. Began learning a new song on the harp
  7. Did my Spanish lessons
  8. Did two loads of laundry
  9. Did the breakfast and lunch dishes
  10. Had a phone consultation with a client
  11. Emptied out my e-mail inbox
  12. Wrote 3 blog posts
  13. Paid my bills online
  14. Made lunch
  15. Made breakfast
  16. Sorted/discarded the mail
  17. Read the blogs that I subscribe to
  18. Read my Twitter stream
  19. Swept kitchen floor

And there is still more of my day left…

You can also do a Ta Da List for an entire year. This is exactly what I did at the end of last year and when I finished my list, I was elated to discover that I was able to achieve almost all of the goals I had set for myself at the beginning of the year.

The Ta Da list can help you to become more aware of and grateful for what you do accomplish for yourself and for others throughout the day. Since I have started using this tool, I feel much more energized and motivated when I see everything I have done during the day.

So I say, sit back in your chair at the of the day, write out your list, put down your pen and say “Ta Da!”

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