How To Keep Track Of Your Progress and To-Do List
To-do lists are dynamic documents. Today’s list probably looks very different from one you made a year or even a month ago. If it doesn’t, it’s probably time to revisit your goals!
By looking back on previous to-do lists, you can learn a lot about yourself, your goals, and your habits – good and bad. But when you are finished with a list, don’t toss it. Instead, file it away and when you’ve got a month or two worth of lists stored up, pull them out and go on a backwards journey. And actually, I do things a little bit different with my “to-do” list by tying my working lists to to my digital journal.
It is very important to me to journal as this is how I keep track of where I have been, what my thoughts and dreams were and are, what was happening on any particular day or period of my life and what my business gains and goals are.
However, keeping a traditional journal has never really worked well for me as I think and type at a lightening speed, but actually writing it all down means I can’t really keep up with my own thoughts on paper. Very frustrating for somebody like me who is a logical, linear thinker and just wants to get things done in the most efficient manner possible.
Happily, some years ago I found a fabulous digital journal that I have referenced on several of my recent radio broadcasts on Your Partner In Success Radio and am getting a lot of people sending me notes to say thank you for the great idea. I use and HIGHLY recommend The Journal by DavidRM Software. He offers a 45 day free trial and if you want to upgrade to the paid version it is a one time fee of $49.95.
I recently had a massive computer crash and to be perfectly honest, the thing I worried about most was losing my years worth of journal entries. Fortunately for my sanity, I had backed everything up (it prompts you do do so on a regular basis) and was able to restore my journal. Whew!
The Journal can store anything in an entry: digital photographs, spreadsheets, word processor documents, and more. I use the meta keyword search tool to find out what was going on with my “do-do” lists going back several years. It is an enlightening journey, I promise you! These are some of the features that I love the most:
- Powerful word-processing features
- Store anything. (text, digital photographs, videos, files…)
- Find what you’re looking for with the powerful search features
- Print your entries for binding or sharing
- Set reminders for appointments, events, tasks & special days
- Import entries from other journaling software quickly
- Post your entries (including entries with images) to your web log (blog).
- Security – password protection
So when making your “to-do” lists and goal lists be sure to ask yourself the following questions and then check out The Journal to see if it will aid you in keeping track of yourself. And by the way, I am not an affiliate because David doesn’t currently have an affiliate program but if he ever does create one, I will be first in line. This is a tool that I simply can’t praise enough! I also need to mention here that David is tremendously helpful if you have a problem with your journal and will immediately return your email.
- What items have changed on my list? Did they go away because you accomplished a big project, or because you gave up?
- What has stayed the same? Are these repeats still there because they indicate an ongoing habit (exercise, for example) or because you still haven’t finished what you set out to accomplish some time ago?
- What continually falls to the bottom of your list? Are there items that were carried over from day to day, or even week to week? What were they, and why did you keep procrastinating? Did you finally finish the task, or did it just go away?
- What patterns do you see? Are there seasonal or other patterns you recognize, such as you always start revving up to capture new business in the fall and work on product creation in the spring? Are these the best times for those tasks?
- How many items do you typically write down, and how many do you typically accomplish, each day? Use this information as you move forward to make your current lists more effective.
- How do you feel when you look back over your lists? Are you struck with how much you’ve accomplished, or are you depressed by how much you never did? How can you use those feelings to motivate you now?
- In retrospect, were the items you thought were the most important turn out to really be the most important? If you had to do it over, would you place your emphasis, time, and resources elsewhere?
Your past lists are valuable clues as to your working style, preferences, and personality. Just as an archaeologist would review pieces of pottery and ancient artifacts for clues about that ancient civilization, you can review your own clues to make your present-day effectiveness the highest it can be.
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