The Done list: How and why to make yours

In the last post, we talked about the lists I’m going to include on Marshland: Do, Doing, and Done. Now let’s talk specifically about the Done list.

I actually created a first draft a few years ago, but I thought I’d lost it forever. Lo and beyond, though, a few days ago, I discovered it waiting patiently for me on a thumbdrive, along with some other documents I’d long forgotten.

So I made some edits, changed the formatting, and am currently in the process of adding a few more items before publishing it here.

Why to make your Done list

I’ve learned a lot from this list. For one thing, it’s a wonderful encouragement. I definitely can’t feel depressed when I look over all the things I’ve been able to do in my life. Every item is a blessing. I can’t help but feel thankful when I scan over the list.

My Done list also hints at what I enjoy in general. Patterns emerge. I get ideas for what I’d like to do, which ends up on another list, the Do list (we’ll talk about that later), before being done.

So overall, you can use your list for inspiration and for learning about your life and where to go, like the whole “try, recognize what works, do more of what works” thing.

As you know, I’m a big fan of memories. Try capturing some of them with your own Done list.

How to make your Done list

  1. Open a text document on your computer (or if you blog, open your blog editor).
  2. Write “Done List” at the top and start a list beneath it.
  3. Type out everything you’ve done, everything positive anyway.
  4. Try to add a bunch of items each day for a couple days.
  5. Include big items, like getting married. Also, include smaller items, like eating half a gallon of your favorite ice.
  6. Continue adding to it until you have a long list.
  7. Once you have a decent sized list, organize them into categories. For example, I have a section that starts with “Visited,” and then I list the places I’ve visited underneath that category. When your list gets super long, this will help keep things scannable and interesting.
  8. Consider making some of the most important items stand out by either bolding them or picking out a “Top 10” list.
  9. While you’re scanning your list for its most important items, weed out some of the less amazing things you’ve included.
  10. Keep your list up to date by adding items to it as you do more.

Tomorrow, I’ll share my list. [Update: Here it is.] For now, start your own and let me know how it goes. I’d love to see yours.