The “I’ve Done” List

Why the I’ve Done list is as important as the To Do list:


One of the best production tools I’ve ever used is my I’ve Done list. My To Do list gets written every night before I go to bed: a considered and realistic list of items to be ticked off the following day.

Typically these sit in two categories of:

  • Things I need to do
  • Things I want to

Asterisk the ones which make me money. Highlight the ones which are good for me. Delete as many of the others as possible.

That’s a simple To Do list efficiency tool because half the time the things we think we should be doing aren’t the things which are useful to us, at all.

I could go into more depth here by explaining that the 2 hours of yoga and the 10km run plus the half hour spiritual study and afternoon power nap are list features I consider to be as important as nurturing new clients and sending out invoices. That’s for another post on daily actions, coming soon.

For now we’ll assume whatever is on your To Do list is something you value and want / need to do.

Let’s turn to the I’ve Done list. This gets built as you go through your day. Mine is on my phone, easy to add to as I go. By keeping an I’ve Done list you don’t only delete a task from your To Do list therefore actively reducing the number of tasks you’ve still to do, but you add an achievement to your I’ve Done list.

Adding and recognising achievements is a powerful psychological tool. 

Adding achievements is a powerful motivational booster, the psychology attached to building a list of achievements instills feelings of accomplishment, self confidence and personal power: you feel you are active rather than reactive and it builds self commitment, production and helps you to work smart.

If an item on your To Do list doesn’t feel great on your I’ve Done list you’ll start writing your To Do lists a little differently.

We are of course the sum of our actions, and we all want to feel good. This tool helps to boost both.

Another benefit of the I’ve Done list is the easy self assessment it helps you make of:

  1. your routine
  2. what you are focused on
  3. your way of working

Your Routine: This is important analysis to make, and this tool helps you do it daily. You can have the best intentions in the world but without a solid and productive routine which works for you the results won’t be met. What makes a good routine will be covered in another post so keep tuned.

What You are Focused On: Energy flows where attention goes. What you focus on is vital. Your I’ve Done list helps you assess if your actions are in alignment with your purpose.

Your Way of Working: Your way of taking action is as important as your actual action. This is the part which is most closely linked to how you are feeling throughout the day.

Less can be more.

The focus of building the I’ve Done list is not about making the longest I’ve Done list you can. Cramming actions into the day to make you feel like you’ve achieved more is not the name of the game, it’s about building an I’ve Done list you can be proud of.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are these actions ones which I am proud of?
  2. Do I feel a sense of accomplishment?
  3. Are these actions / accomplishments in alignment with my short term, medium and long term goals?
  4. Do I feel good about what I’ve achieved?

When you know you can feel good about what you have achieved, working your I’ve Done list hand in hand with your To Do list, allows even the most tedious of tasks to become an opportunity for feeling great.

The secret to a successful day is feeling good at the end of it, and your I’ve Done list might just get you there.


For more information on strategic practices and human behaviours join us at: