Stop writing a “to do” list and write this instead


We have lists. Lots and lots of lists. Things we need to do, things we want to do, things we’re not sure about but may do someday. How are we supposed to prioritize anything and decide what to do today?

I have a suggestion. Take your “to do” list, the one you wrote for today or this week, and change the name to a “to finish” list.

A to do list isn’t really a list of things we intend to accomplish, is it? It’s a list of things we plan to start. But creating value in our lives isn’t about what we start it’s about what we finish.

Changing the name to a “to finish” list forces you to write a better list. Instead of writing things you should do and hope you can finish, you make a list of things you know you have the skills, resources, and time to finish that day.

If you are planning to start a new project but realize you don’t have time to finish it today, you are forced to break up that project into smaller chunks you can get done today.

A “to finish” list forces you to think about what’s important. It makes you examine the many options available and organically prioritize your list. You not only get more done, you get the most important things done.

Shifting your focus from a long list of things you need to do to a short list of things you are committed to doing gives you clarity and peace of mind. As you finish the items on your list, you feel good, giving you the energy and desire to do more.

Starting is the hardest part of doing anything. But finishing is the most important. If you want to be, do, and have more in your life, stop starting so many things and start finishing what really matters.