Sticky notes, scraps of paper stuffed into books, lists on the refrigerator, computer checklists, P.D.A.s, the endless tasks we log in our minds…  However we create them, to-do lists abound.  And in today’s fast-paced and production-oriented world, the to-do list as an organizational tool seems here to stay.  But it doesn’t have to be a lead weight dragging us down and sapping our life energy with continual reminders of what still needs to get done.  It can be something else entirely.

Who amongst you keeps a to-do list—or several of them?  Do you enjoy them or just find them useful and at times necessary tools to help keep you on track?  Are they a means of recognition and celebration of your accomplishments or merely a method for plodding through the seemingly never-ending chores that life lays before you?  Have you ever considered that to-do lists could be fun?

Well, here’s an idea to transform this tool from a dry and potentially nagging prod into a motivating and enjoyable instrument that will not only help you track your goals and accomplishments but also add an element of play and celebration to the process.  I came up with this idea one day when working with my coach.  Enter the To Do… Ta Da!!! list.  Unlike a regular to-do list which generally gets tossed (only to be replaced by another!) as soon as you complete each item, a To Do… Ta Da!!! list stays clearly displayed so that over time you can witness how well you are doing.

So it may take you five months (or five years) to get your will written—why not celebrate when it’s finally finished?  Way to go!  How about that pile of papers that just kept getting relocated to a different corner—how would it be to look up from your desk periodically and smile at the reminder that you have finally tackled it?  And your big dream project that has twenty steps just to get started—why wait till the end to acknowledge your progress?  Hooray on #7 and kudos on #17!

You can create your To Do… Ta Da!!! list or board in any way that works for you.  At times, I’ve used a cork bulletin board, half of which is devoted to To Do and half to Ta Da!!! Colorful sticky notes, organized by category, denote the items I want to accomplish and as I finish each item, its note gets moved from To Do to Ta Da!!! I add to the fun with foil stars (like the ones we used in grade school)!  Folks who have seen my board often say, “I need one of those.”  Some clients use a journal to keep track of their accomplishments.  This is like building a savings account.  Every time you make a “deposit,” your list of “assets” keeps growing!  Years later you can read your journal and still reap the rewards, appreciating your success all over again.  One could also hold a To Do… Ta Da!!! dinner party – where friends get together to celebrate one another’s achievements, large and small.  How fun is that?

People really seem to get that we all need more appreciation, fun, humor and play in our lives.  Why not insert it where too often we find only drudgery?  Have fun, and congratulations!  Woo hoo!  Way to go!!!

To Do… TA DA!!!