Most of us take on a lot of different roles in life. You've got to be the housekeeper, bookkeeper, nutritionist, chef, personal shopper, stylist, events coordinator, therapist, bodyguard, CEO and assistant of You, Inc.—all the time, around the clock. Oh, and cheerleader too, if you hope to have the stamina and enthusiasm to do it all over again tomorrow.
What helps me to keep on keepin' on is to truly give myself credit for the things I get done each day—both personally and professionally. And to that end, I've developed an auspicious habit: I write a to-do list in reverse at the end of the day.
Every one of us finds some way to keep track of the tasks we need to get done—whether it's on paper, in an app or even just in your head. But wherever you keep your to-do list, it's a subtractive thing. Even as you mark over the things you managed to make happen, the very next time you read it, your to-do list remains a nagging list of things you haven't done yet. What cheerleader worth their pom poms would stand at the sidelines and yell about touchdowns that haven't been scored?
That's why I began the mindful habit of keeping a reverse to-do list during the day, on a separate page or in a separate place from the one that serves as a task plan. As I cross things off the task list, I add them to the reverse list. And when something inevitably comes up that wasn't part of the plan for that day—say, a co-worker with a quick favor, or a tidying task that kept you busy for a bit—you add it to the reverse list, too.
What you're left with at the end of the day is quite the opposite of a to-do list... it's a "DONE!" list. And that's a hell of a lot more motivating for me.