Toss Your To-Do List

This is the time of year when people start thinking about getting more productive in their life. 

Over time, I’ve learned there is a significant benefit of growing older and wiser, figuring out what works in most areas of life, and learning to avoid the school of hard knocks.

I’m always amazed at how much time people fritter away deciding how to be more productive— 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 essential and yield 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 brains full. And flying airplanes can be unforgiving when you get things wrong. That causes you to micro-focus on tiny 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—

“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 DID I DO IT LIST. That way, you’re only double-checking that you did the important stuff.”

Pure brilliance!

I embraced the “Did I Do It” philosophy in flying and everything I do from that day forward. 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. 

That way of thinking allows you to release the stress of information overload, enjoy yourself more, get lots done, and celebrate your victories. Plus, the boost you get from seeing how much you have accomplished feels great.

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