Pause Life Coaching

Do you keep a to-do list? Some of us do and maybe we lose the darn thing. Perhaps our to-do list makes us feel like garbage at the end of the day when we only notice what we did NOT get done.

I have a complicated relationship with to-do lists. They are undeniably useful for plotting out your day or week ahead of time, and they can be a great way to hold yourself accountable for getting things done.

But they are designed to remind you of all the things you haven’t done. As soon as you cross off one task, another one or two or 10 await you. The whole exercise can be a dispiriting reminder that no matter how hard you work or how much you accomplish, there will always be more work to do until you die.

Focusing on what’s next (for example: our to-do lists) means we skate right past our wins, no matter how big or small they are. Students don’t celebrate a good grade on a test but instead start worrying about the next test. You finish a project at work and you rush to start the next thing you’re behind on.

Because of the discouraging nature of to-do lists, I’ve added a Ta-Da or Done List to recognize what I’ve accomplished. I call my Done List a Ta-Da List because it sounds more celebratory and fun. After all, celebrating your wins is the whole purpose of the Done List. 

A ta-da list is a log of the tasks you’ve completed. Keeping a ta-da list has the power to feed your motivation, and heighten positive emotions like joy and pride. It can make creative productivity more sustainable by helping you experience a sense of progress for work that matters to you.

The idea behind the Ta-Da or done list is simple, regardless of what the list looks like. Keeping track of what you do makes you feel productive, which makes you feel happy and energized, which translates into more productivity going forward.

The simple act of writing down and keeping track of what you accomplish is motivating. Your done list gives you credit for the full breadth of your accomplishments, capturing everything that came up during the day that might not have been preordained by your to-do list.

To be honest, the main reason I keep maintaining my Ta-Da list is that it feels good. Unlike most productivity hacks, it doesn’t feel like a chore or like something I’m making myself do; it feels like a pleasure. I get a buzz of self-satisfaction every time I update it. (For what it’s worth, it does not take much time to maintain—I spend maybe 30 seconds a day updating the list.)

You might roll your eyes at me for wanting to pat myself on the back for every little thing I get done. Butmost productivity techniques require a little self-trickery.

The process of reflecting and writing down what you’ve done – creating a  ta-da list,  has the almost magical effect of amplifying motivation and productivity at tasks that matter. 

When we reflect on progress, we practically metabolize it. Jot down completed tasks, and view them as “wins,” or progress towards your final goal(s), and you can externalize and recognize them. ” 

Small wins have power beyond themselves – Momentum

Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.
If reflecting on our wins makes them seem more “real,” and small wins help generate more and often larger wins, the least we can do is write down our accomplishments, right?

Wins also heighten positive emotions and intrinsic motivation, which result in more creative productivity.

Given that we can’t always control external sources of motivation, like recognition from our boss, family and peers, drawing from our internal well of motivation by recognizing wins is a success strategy. The ta-da list means that we can create motivation no matter where we find ourselves or what’s happening around us.

How to implement a Ta-Da List

Keeping a done or ta-da list in addition to your to-do list is a quick and simple way to increase success and well-being. How do you create these lists in a way that fits your needs?

Here are some approaches to try. 
  • At the end of each day, jot down your wins for the day. Research suggests that handwriting activates different, critical areas of the brain that affords us clarity over typing.
  • At weeks end, review your ta-da list. Share with a friend, boss, co-worker or spouse your wins and ask them to share their wins. Speaking, requires translating thoughts into words, which externalizes those thoughts and allows us to see them for what they are so we can celebrate and move forward.
  • Got a project that feels overwhelming? Keep a done list for each project you work on. This can help you experience a sense of progress towards completing the project. 
    Why not trick yourself into feeling better about your work, just by paying closer attention to how you actually spend your time?

    How amazing would it feel to end each day focusing on your accomplishments, rather than the never-ending mountain of tasks waiting for you come morning?

    How do
    you recognize your progress for maximum results? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Are you a people pleaser? Has being busy and stressed out become a badge of honor you wear every day? Do you struggle with saying “no” to someone or something? Are there particular people in your life where “yes” comes flying out of your mouth before you even stop to think about what you actually want?

Most of us have been there too because generally speaking saying yes is easy. Saying no, well, that takes a little more courage!

In reality, saying yes all the time to please others is actually incredibly fake, builds resentment, and is a complete disservice to those you are saying yes to, when really you want to say no.

For some saying no comes easier than others. Studies have shown, women suffer from this more-so than men. Many of my ADHD clients describe themselves as “people pleasers.” Fear of saying no is real. The best way to avoid these fears is simply to say yes.

When you can’t say no, do you:

  • Fear being rejected or thought poorly of by others
  • Worry that the other person won’t like you anymore or badmouth you
  • Hold a belief that you are being selfish if you say no
  • Fear conflict with others
  • Want to be “nice” and seen as someone who contributes selflessly to others (even if you resent saying yes and contributing!)
  • Attach your self-worth to how many things you do for others
  • Allow other people’s priorities to become your own priorities (for reasons above)
  • Let others start to get used to you saying yes all the time, making finding your no even more challenging.
We have mostly been trained from a very young age that saying no is wrong or not okay. How many times did your parents get angry at you if you said no to doing something? Did you get sent to your room or grounded? Many of us have been stripped of our permission to say no from very early on.

So it’s no wonder that many of us have lost the art of saying no. But it’s not all bad news, because saying no is just like a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while. You can still train it back into shape!

Here are some tips that will help get your “no”-muscle back into shape so that you can focus on what matters to you and start prioritizing what you want for your life.  Read More

Do you remember being a kid and wanting to be a grown-up? Did you think this was what you were in for?

If you’re like many American’s you’re overworked, anxious and maybe even depressed.

Weekends give most of us the chance to downshift and recharge. But we don’t treat them as sacred. Downtime almost always gets pushed aside to catch up or get ahead on our work instead.

You’re exhausted. But you’re not happy. Not really happy.

When did being happy become second to being productive?

It can be especially difficult for those with ADHD because you’re constantly feeling like your behind and aren’t as productive as you or others want you to be.

PLAY may be the cure to, low productivity, unhappy relationships, boredom and depression.

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What if you can’t remember your past because you never actually made memories? Is that worse than making them and then forgetting them?

I wonder who will tell this present when it becomes the past? Will future grandparents have stories that start with “I remember when I was your age…?”

I don’t know the answer to that but I do know these things to be true.

  • I can’t go back and live the past because it’s gone. Poof! Doesn’t exist.
  • And I can’t live in the future because it doesn’t exist yet.
  • The only thing that does exist is the present.

So, if I’m not existing in the present, do I exist at all?

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Are you feeling stressed? Are your neck and back muscles tight? Are you furrowing your brow? Feeling frustrated? Are you stuck? These are all signs it is time to take a break.

I know you don’t want to take a break right now. Why? Because you’re too busy. You’re going to push through and get stuff done.

Sometimes we know there’s a better way to do things, but we’re just so busy we don’t even think we have the time to find it—so we keep going like we always have.

When I started taking breaks they made me happier, more focused and more productive—and I bet they can do the same for you, whether you’re in the office or studying for a test.

Discover the science of why we need breaks at work, home and school and what to do on your hard earned break.

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Do you treat “help” like a 4-letter word?

What if you had more freedom to ask for what you wanted and for specific support from other people? What if you could ask for help in a confident, humble and empowering way? What if you remembered that you are worthy of other people’s help and that they want to help?

While it sounds simple enough, accepting help is challenging for all of us. It’s especially hard for those of us that believe that seeking help undermines our independence and our ability to cope.

There is a tendency to think that you “should” be able to cope alone, to manage without help, or that “life shouldn’t be this way”. It’s a tendency to see the world as it “should be” as opposed to as it actually “is.”

Wanting something to be, or something not to be based on unrealistic standards is only wishful thinking.

8 Reasons You Don’t Ask For Help and What To Do About It

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Do you use a to-do-list? Or, do you not bother because they don’t help you get anything done. For some our to-do-list stares back at us at the end of the day taunting us for not getting anything on it done.

Make A Kick-Butt To-Do-List

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When did we allow ourselves to be conditioned to hate 5 out of 7 days of our week? For most of us, Monday is the day we dread.

These “beliefs” have trapped us into work habits of low productivity.

Not only is stuff not getting done, but we keep beating ourselves up with negative chatter that feeds the bad habits.

Monday arrives, for many of us, a groggy shock to the system. It’s difficult to remember where you left off on Friday.

Unfortunately, according to productivity app Flow, most workers experience a slump on Friday when it comes to productivity. That means Mondays are forced to be the busiest days. They are compensating for Friday.

Mondays will never be productive if you wait until Monday to figure out what to do with the day and the week.

We start Monday’s having to find the energy to “start again”. For most of us it is literally starting over, which is not motivating.

We haven’t even left ourselves a trail of bread crumbs from where we left off on Friday.

This feeds our procrastination.

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Do you define success by “you having to do it all yourself”?

Imagine feeling peaceful, experiencing a deep feeling of well-being – my definition of success. How I get there is merely a strategy.

If you’re never feeling successful in your days, it’s time to start doing something different.

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Are you a good multi-tasker?

Think you are awesome at your work because you’re doing two things at once? Nope.

You just make yourself look bad. Or worse – stand to disappoint others and yourself.

We think multitasking is good or, at best, necessary, to help us be “productive” and get as much done as possible. Multitasking makes us feel very busy, like we’ve been productive. So why are so many of us strangely panicked at the sight of our scantly completed to-do lists?

Because multitasking is a constant interruption – a constant distraction.

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 The most overlooked distraction is our thoughts. For those with ADHD it is often the biggest barrier to paying attention.

Efforts we make to lessen external distractions don’t work for tuning-out our own thoughts.

Music, TV, bright neon lights are distracting to most. For others, those are crucial to keeping focused. What works for the neurotypical brain does not work for the complex ADHD brain.

When you notice your kids distracted by irrelevant sights and sounds, quickly bouncing from one activity to another, or becoming bored quickly, what do you offer?

If you tell your kids, “Go study in your room where it is quiet,” you are not alone.
I did it.
I didn’t know better.

Other well-meaning parents and experts share this as an effective focusing strategy. It may be for some, but not others.

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