My "to do" list is out of control. I'm constantly moving items further down on my list as higher priorities arise. That's what is supposed to happen, right? Well, with the warp speed of today's work environment, it is easy for lower-priority items to stay at the bottom of the barrel for a while. If something has been on my list for more than two months, I normally scratch it off and forget about it. Chances are you have a similar list of craziness that needs to get scratched.
And what's left at the end of the month? Do you remember what you've accomplished and worked on so diligently? Yeah, neither did I until about six months ago. I started keeping a "done list" when my director nonchalantly asked me what I had been working on during the past month. I pieced together my activities while thinking, "Man, what did I do last month? I know I was amazingly busy… on what?!" That's not a fun place to be as a subordinate.
Enter the done list! It doesn't contain the everyday ins and outs of small items that I complete. Rather, it is a compilation of the large processes, systems, and programs I've worked on during the month. I keep my done list in a recurring appointment on the last workday of every month within my Outlook calendar. Every time I focus intense efforts on something or complete a process or something else I consider worthwhile, I open the appointment and add a few words detailing the events.
It is amazing to look at that list at the end of the month and see all the things I've completed. As an added bonus, at the end of the year, I have one heck of an evaluation response to support my working goals. Even as a manager, I receive evaluations, and I like to be prepared. I have started encouraging my own team members to keep their own done lists. They see their efforts at a glance, making evaluation time a whole lot more enjoyable for us all.
If you're wondering where all your time is going or you cannot remember what it is exactly you're accomplishing, a done list is for you. Give it a try. I'd love to hear how it goes!