122. This must is a must.

For several years now I have been encouraging my client’s to create a new “Must Do” list for themselves every day.

We are all familiar with the idea of using “To Do” lists to help organize our time and to prioritize each item on the list in order of importance so as to ensure that the most important tasks are attended to and completed.

It is fascinating to review the progress made by those clients who have committed to, and honoured their commitments.

To these folks, The Habit of Must Do, has proven to be life-changing. Acquiring the habit can be painful in the early stages of application but it does not take long before the benefits gained substantially outweigh the challenges faced.

Many of my clients have described The Habit of Must Do as the greatest gift they have ever given themselves. I have heard countless stories of procrastination habits being shattered, unfulfilled product promises being realized and discarded projects being completed.

The use of a “Must Do” list requires both selective thinking and a basic grasp of simple arithmetic.

Before an item gets placed on that list it must be determined to be worthy of occupying space on the list, i.e. that it is important enough to be considered a “Must Do” item, and then everything else required to be accomplished that day, must be considered to determine there is sufficient time to complete this item.

Many times in both this and my Saturday blog, we have discussed the simple truth that guides our behaviour – we only ever do one thing, we do what is most important in a moment.

Using this as a guiding principle, users of a “Must Do” list take time to evaluate each item to determine if it will make the cut and find its way onto this list thus sparing themselves from the time and challenge that we all face when more and more tasks keep getting heaped up on our daily plates.

The questions I am frequently asked when presenting this concept for the first time is, “So what? So what if I don’t compete something that’s on that list? What’s the big deal?”

I’ll tell you what the big deal is. The big deal is letting ourselves down. The big deal is not living up a meeting promises made to ourselves. The big deal is in building disappointment into our dreams.

And I know this because of the countless times people have spoken to me of the pride and sense of accomplishment they feel when they finally complete the last task on their “Must Do” list.

Much like recovering alcoholics who can often tell you in years, months, weeks, days and even hours how long they have remained sober, so can these folks tell you how long, without skipping a day, they have managed to sustain their “Must Do” lists.

And, if asked, they will speak of their unshakable determination to never miss a day of completed activities because to do so is to reset their history of consecutive success all the way back to zero – a price they are not willing to pay

So today, I recommend we all adopt The Habit of Must Do.

It’s really simple, there are only three steps.
1. Carefully select the activity or activities that will be on your Must List for today.
2. Write it on your list.
3. Do it.

I know this seems like an oversimplification but it only feels that way for the first a while until you begin to reap the rewards that using such a list will bring into your life.

Many years ago I heard a wise old saying that applies very well to how we should face tough challenges in our lives. It states, “If you can’t, you must.”

And a really good place to put this into practice is by beginning a very own daily “Must Do” list.

So, if you feel this is not the right time to begin well… You must.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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