Daniel Pink is an author of books such as Drive and The Power of Regret. His themes focus on business, work, creativity and behavior. He also has a video blog, The Pinkcast, which promotes science-based tools and tips for working smarter and living better. Who doesn’t want that? In the latest video, he discussed replacing your “to-do” list with something better. He posits that most of our long “to-do” lists, whether at work or at home, contain many items that go undone. He finds these lists annoying and demotivating because our focus is always on what we haven’t done rather than on what we have accomplished.
Mr. Pink states that instead, we should start our days with a blank piece of paper and keep a “done” list. Every time we do something, we are to write it down. The benefits are two-fold. First, we’ll get the same satisfaction when writing down what we’ve accomplished as we do when crossing items off of our “to-do” lists. Pink added, “Second, and more important, is that we know from the remarkable work of Harvard’s Theresa Amabile that the single biggest motivator on the job is making progress in meaningful work.” Keeping the “done” list allows you to record and review all of the progress that you make each day and feel good about the work that you have completed.
Personally, I believe that we need both lists. We need “to do” lists to make sure that important things do actually get done but we also need “done” lists to remind us of how much we accomplish each day including items that we couldn’t have anticipated when we created our “to-do” list. One list keeps us organized and focused and the other keeps us happy and motivated. That seems like a great combination.
This week’s selection is:
Fresh Water for Flowers by Valerie Perrin
Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Her life is lived to the predictable rhythms of the often funny, always moving confidences that casual mourners, regular visitors, and sundry colleagues share with her. Violette’s routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of Julien Sole—local police chief—who has come to scatter the ashes of his recently deceased mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear that Julien’s inexplicable gesture is intertwined with Violette’s own complicated past.