Monday, April 10, 2000


My friend David, a coach from Denver, demonstrates that it's more about what you've done than what you didn't do.

For most of us, lists are a part of our daily activities. Sometimes it's a new list and sometimes we're just adding to the list we created the day before. It's very satisfying, I admit, to cross things off a list. It's darn right joyful if it's a big item! But how much pain did we go through seeing items on our list day after day until they are accomplished?

Think about it. With each new day, our accomplishments get removed, crossed out, axed, tossed and what we did not get done gets to stay on the list. And often we think of things to put on the list faster than we can cross off those items we have accomplished. When the paper gets full, we transfer those things we have not accomplished to a clean sheet that gives us room to add to the list. All this, I propose, is a little backwards. We seem to be giving greater attention to what we did not get done than what we did get done.

So, a couple of years ago I threw away all my lists and gave up the idea of starting new ones (although I do admit to relying on a computer check list I keep to pack for a canoe/fishing/camping trip. I’ll never again forget the rain suit on a 10-day paddling trip). Giving up lists was very freeing. I recovered a greater sense of faith that I would do, on any particular day, exactly what needed to be done without having to control it with a list. I also became trustful that those “big items” would not be forgotten.

But I like the way David takes his faith to the next level. David does create lists. But each day he creates his SDE (Significant Daily Events) list. What go on David's list are only those things he has accomplished that day. So David is creating a list of things he has accomplished during or at the end of his day rather than a list of things to do at the beginning of his day. He includes everything that is significant to him. Thus play and work are a healthy mix on his list. He may create a list that acknowledges dinner with family, a walk, several coaching conversations, catching up on emails, making several business calls and lunch with an old friend. At the end of the day, David can reflect on all the has accomplished. David says, “I have gained such perspective with the SDE concept. I am doing more daily stuff of value.”

“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time” ~AndrĂ© Gide

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious” ~Albert Einstein

“Adventures don't begin until you get into the forest. That first step is an act of faith.” ~Mickey Hart

Today, throw away all your list. Relinquish control and surrender to the fact that you know, on any particular day, what needs to be done.

Take it one step further and create a Significant Daily Events list. Acknowledge how much you have accomplished!

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