The Glass-Filling Power of the TA DA! List


This is a guest post by Ellie Di – the Headologist

I’m a glass-half-empty kind of person.


My first instinct in an unpleasant situation is to jump to the worst possible conclusion, then work backwards to a less crazy, more balanced reaction.  This steels me against negative fallout by preparing me to receive the worst but expect the best (or at least that’s how it works in my head).  By focusing on the bad, I’m pleasantly surprised when things are good.


This preference for disaster naturally leads me to being a compulsive to-do-list-maker, outlining every task for easy obsessing.  But because I lean towards pessimism instead of optimism, the only thing I see is what I haven’t done.  Anything without a line through it makes me antsy – all I can think about is how to be more efficient, more productive, more hard-working.


At the end of the day, when the glass is half-empty and I’m panicking about everything I haven’t finished, my TA DA! list helps fill me back up.


The TA DA! list is a counter-measure to the tyranny of the to-do list.  Instead of feeling guilty over every little thing that’s left unchecked-off, you get to acknowledge and celebrate the things you have done.  Sounds good, right?


Here’s my example from Monday:  Writing and meditating practices, a short nap, run unofficial Motivation Monday, wrote a Mercury retrograde survival guide, did the Emmit chat, ransacked my personal blog’s archives for safekeeping, backed up my sites and computer, wrote a site review, did the dishes, cooked dinner.  TA DA!


My to-do list, on the other hand, looked something like this:  Writing, meditation, Motivation Monday, Emmit, call back apartment with extra information, do laundry, work some extra hours at the day job, send Very Important Emails, site review, beta-test responses, make dinner.


Some of the items match up; some of them don’t.  But the simple act of making the TA DA! list automatically takes focus from what didn’t get done and puts it squarely on what you did do.


While I never do get through everything on my to-do list, using the TA DA! list to track what I am doing with my time and energy is soothing and rewarding.  Having it all written out shows me precisely where I’m spending my time and energy, reminding me that I am, in fact, doing something with my life.


Which I’m immensely grateful for.


The TA DA! list practice is particularly powerful at the end of the day – celebrating achievement instead of moaning over defeat just before bed is a great way to off those sleepless nights.  And, rather than saying “nothing” when someone asks what I did today (the task equivalent of saying “fine” when asked how you are), I can tell them precisely what I did.  Impressive, conversational, and therapeutic.


So.  What did you do today?


[Psst!  Want a cool little TA DA! list worksheet?  Head over to The Headologist to find one, along with other great freebies.  You can also join the tribe on Facebook or Twitter, where we do our TA DA! list sharing every weeknight!]


Ellie Di is a headologist, spiritual nomad, compulsive scribbler, compassionate critical thinker, and master of the delicious mess.  She spends her days working towards her next level of awesomeness, writing like a motherfucker, and plotting the next Big Thing.  You can stalk her on her site, The HeadologistTwitterFacebookGoogle+, or Pinterest.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Halley November 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

That’s an awesome idea! It definitely erases the guilt of an unfinished to-do list.


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