Ever notice that the things that just have to be done always get done? When we are at work we never ever find it acceptable not to do what we are told because that would mean looking for new work. But why is it that when it comes to our own dreams and our own meaningful living we don’t get things done? We run out of time. We put things off for another day. Why does our both carry more weight than death?

The good news is that there is a way to get things done. There is a way to accomplish the things we set out to accomplish in our life if we choose to make them a priority. This has to become something that is non negotiable. I made that deal with myself when it comes to my writing. I write every day. Good, bad, or ugly. No matter. Whatever is going on in my life, no matter how I feel, or what commitments I have, I find the time to write just over five hundred words. 

I am nothing special. I just made a choice, but it doesn’t stop there. Writing alone doesn’t really fulfill me. I need to let some of that writing out, the way that a musician needs to perform, and a chef needs customers to taste their latest offering. 

As difficult as writing every day is, putting a performance together, editing, editing some more, editing again, putting the book together, publishing it, and promoting it is a whole other world altogether. A world I am just beginning to experience and understand.

I would be nowhere however, without a to do list. I write down all the things I need to do in a week and I call it a success list. I changed the language because I don’t just want to do them, I want to succeed in them.

I write down a week’s worth of things and I don’t turn it into a dream list. This is not a list of all the things I should do, or hope to do, or want to do. It is a success list of all the things I must get to in the week. Yes, inevitably life happens, and not all the items get done, but moved to the next week, but I try to be practical. I want to have things done. I don’t want to look at them again. I want to get to the next thing and the next thing.

I also highlight all the things I have accomplished with a marker. I want to see it when I open the page. I want it looking back at me. The triumphs and the lack of effort. I don’t want to live in the illusion of activity anymore. I want to know that I am getting at my dreams because it is so much better than binge watching or gossiping your way through existence. 

I read a headline yesterday that said that 2018 was a terrible year. Donald Trump was president. There were massive stabbings and shootings. There were acts of terrorism. People are out of work. People are still starving, and starving, and starving and starving. 

I can’t make bad news go away and it doesn’t disappear just because I don’t look at it. I’m not stupid, but I learned that I don’t have to see what everyone else sees. That’s why I have my success list. I work it day in and day out. I focus on the things I can change. On the things I can make better. I try to make a difference in the lives of those I meet, and I leave everything else to everyone else.

If you don’t have a success list, start one. How else are you going to know where you are going or get a memo that you got there? Write that shit down. Write it often. Review it. Adjust course, and you’ll be greatly served by it.

Cover photo generously provided by photographer Estee Janssens.