The “Did” list…

A great way I find to keep focused, motivated, clear-minded, and in the moment is to work by what I call a “Did” list.  Especially on days when my head is noisy with all of the things that need to be done.

My Did list is my variation on the traditional “To-Do” list, which can tend to function as a set of hopes and expectations that end up disappointing, rather than motivating.

Why?, I wonder.  Could it be that To-Do lists are often created with the influence our less-effective thinking?  … by the dreamer and grandiose-thinking parts of our minds, which are universally present for those of us prone to alcoholism?

If this part of our thinking is directing our daily traffic, are we not potentially setting ourselves up for failure?  Are we not following unreliable guidance that has virtually always failed us in the past.?

Can you imagine the glee our unrecovered thinking feels when it has the chance sneak in and “help” us plan our day?

Suffice it to say that To-Do lists have seldom worked effectively for me.  So I changed it up and simply began creating Did lists.  They are quite simple, I simply start with a blank list and fill in each thing I do as soon as I accomplish it.  Not minutes or hours later, but right away.  Why?  Because this is in the moment.  It is real time, and an accurate representation on what IS BEING DONE, not on what I hope to do.

The motivation then becomes to be as efficient and effective in the current project so I can record it on the Did list.  I can feel good when I record it, because they are only listed when completed properly and thoroughly.

I am entirely motivated and energized as my list grows.  When I finish and record one thing, I then seek for the inspirational nudge to decide what is next.  Often I will ask myself, “If I could do only one more thing today, and the day were to suddenly end, but I could look back and say, ‘I’m glad that I at least got that done’, what would that thing be”?  Then I shut my mind off and do the first thing that comes to mind.

This is quite a contrast from the traditional strategic approach to planning the day with a to-do list.  But frankly, the traditional approach has never been applied with much effectiveness by my still-recovering mind and thinking patterns.  Not yet anyway.

So just for today, I keep Did lists.  They keep me inspired, in the moment, productive, and satisfied.




About Chaz

Husband, father, brother, son, friend. Sober member of AA. Grateful for the life God gave me and for the happy struggle of recovery.
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7 Responses to The “Did” list…

  1. Caddo Veil says:

    Wow, this is GREAT, Nephew! Someone else suggested a “Done” list to me recently–so I’m taking this as God’s confirmation: a New Way for a New Day. Thanks so much–keeping you close in prayer; God bless you–love, Auntie Caddo

  2. Debbie says:

    I love the Did List too!!! What a more encouraging way to go about our days! Thank you and God bless you and all that you’ve already done!

  3. Debby says:

    a DID LIst – brilliant! That really is a fantastic idea and one I’m going to share. Thanks, Chaz.

  4. Chaz says:

    Thanks for the replies.

    I have been working this consistently for past few days and have had the most amazingly productive with few anxious moments and very little overwhelming noise in my head…. noise in my head referring to that nagging internal dialogue that argues back and forth saying “do this… no wait… do that…. why are you doing this when you should be doing that?… now put that aside and do this…. and dont forget about the third thing… oh ya, and all of yesterday’s stuff you didnt do… etc.”

    This is a dialogue I have fought my whole life. My ‘Did List’ helps me work past this amazingly. I stay in the moment and entrust the rest of life to God. I am pretty sure this is what he instructed anyway.



  5. Heidi says:

    I’m just skirting in here…not even reading but will be back. In my blogcation day I’m allowing myself to freely surf and look what you did, Buddy! Congratulations. I’m not commenting nor responding to comments on my own blog but thank you for being there! Shhh. Don’t tell anyone I was here, but head on over. Maybe you already knew, as I didn’t stop to read anything yet…

    • Chaz says:

      Hi Heidi…. good to hear from you. See you around when you have more time. I trust you are doing well.

      Thanks for the heads up on the mention. Nice to be spoken of so kindly.



  6. Heidi says:

    OK. Back to where we left off before I went into cocoon stage for a while.

    This is brilliant and dove-tails with what I need to hear about doing the next right thing, isn’t it? The reward of checking off the items is what kept me keeping the Do Lists. Now I can still have the rush of accomplishment without the input of so much ego and self-serving thinking! I’ll modify your suggestion by adding the check marks. 🙂

    ‘Shutting off the mind’. Yup. I’m definitely getting this message of capping the ego and sitting in the moment. THANKS!

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