V is for Victories.
What was the last thing that you ticked off your to-do list? Can you remember? How did it feel when you drew the line straight through the middle of it? Did you notice it, or were you busy rushing onto the next item that needs to be done?
If it's just a blur, then go back and cross it out again. This time really savour it. That task is gone... done... you've have vanquished it from your life. I can wait if it gives you time for an extra moment of enjoyment.
Right, you're back. What you've just done is what I want to concentrate on with the letter V.
Getting things done isn't really about being more productive, or not forgetting your commitments, it's about building a mass of victories on the way to achieving your goals.
There'll always be something more on your list, something for you to be doing next - and by keeping them all in an easily accessible system such as a to-do list, you run the risk of focusing too much on the long climb ahead of you. It's important to take a breather from time to time and admire the view. You might not be at the top of the mountain, but the panorama visible from half-way up is just as unique and may even be more beautiful.
Now, I understand that if you stop to gaze out over the valley after every step it would be dark before you reach the summit; so the celebration should be roughly proportional to the task you've completed. Sometimes it's enough of a kick just crossing things off your list, but if it's a big project or something you've been working towards for a long time then you should acknowledge what you've completed and reward yourself with something special.
The same goes for if you've completed lots of little projects - ones that by themselves wouldn't warrant much of a treat. With tedium we send you a report every three months so you can see just how much you've done, regardless of how small each task; and at the top of each to-do list we give you a fun one-liner to show the progress you've made. That makes it easier, because the software remembers how much you've done, but even if you don't have that, from time to time just pause for a moment and remember all the tasks that you've conquered on the journey to where you are now.
And now that I've finished this entry, I'm going to celebrate by reading a couple of chapters of my book.