I recently realized that I do something that many people don’t do.  And it makes a BIG difference in the quality of my life.  So I’m going to share it.

It’s a  simple technique, but almost no one does it.  And, when you get the concept, and apply it –  it changes your whole life.  It can make EVERY day you use it better than if you did not.

It will make you happier, more productive, more creative, and make your whole life more rewarding!

How’s THAT for a sales pitch?

So after the big build up.  Here’s what you need to do…

STOP making lists of chores, tasks, and things to do.  That’s right – quit doing it.

Instead, I’d like you to make a different kind of list – an opportunities list.

What’s an opportunities list?

No, it’s not the same list as before with a mental pep talk.  It really is a different kind of list. I want you to make a list of all the fun, exciting, good things you could be doing today.

Let me give you an example.

Here’s an abbreviated  “To Do” list for my typical Sunday this month – just some highlights.

  1. Get up early
  2. Feed and groom the dog
  3. Workout at gym
  4. Work on dance instruction video
  5. Get breakfast
  6. Work on edits for novel
  7. Weekly meeting with friends
  8. Make a list of things to do for Monday

Do your lists have this kind of feel?  Are they a long litany of things to get through?  Do you list places to be, chores to do, meetings to be at?

You are WORKING through your day.  You’re trying to get it over with.  You just want to push it behind you.

That’s not a life worth living.

Now let’s try looking at an opportunities list.

  1. Set alarm early.  See if the hot air balloon goes by again today.
  2. Play with my dog after I feed and brush her.  Teach her a new trick.
  3. See if I can beat the course record on the 5 mile cycle track – I only missed it by 2 seconds last try.
  4. Meet my friend Nicole and try filming a couple of dance moves where we do it REALLY wrong so the students can see how badly it can get messed up. Then show them how to do it right.  Should be fun to watch!
  5. Go out to breakfast. Try the salmon benedict this time!  Oh, and see if Nicole is free to come along.  Offer her coffee milk!
  6. At the restaurant see if Rachelle is there today and tell her the next book is almost done. Ask her if she’d like to be an early reader.
  7. Work on the murder mystery. If Nicole can make it, check on her ideas for names for a couple characters.  Otherwise, work on some descriptive phrases for the sleazy hotel owner.
  8. Get together with the gang tonight and catch up on what’s been happening.
  9. Write down cool things to do tomorrow.

It’s the same list of things to be accomplished.  But, the first list is designed to get you through the day.  It helps you survive it.  It puts you in a negative frame of mind.

The second list shows you opportunities you have – for fun, for excitement, for success. It gives you something to look forward to with your day.   Which one you would you rather do?

See the difference?

If you make the first list you set yourself up for survival.  If you make up the second list you set yourself up for success – and fun.

Furthermore, you will actually get more done with the second list.  Numerous studies show that you are more productive, more creative, and more successful when you are approaching each challenge in your day with a positive attitude.  By focusing on what is enjoyable, on what you can accomplish, you get more done.

Bottom line.  You will have higher energy, be more successful, and have a happier day.

As I said, it’s not rocket science.  It’s really easy to do.  Try it.  Take your old “to do” list and junk it.  Instead, write out every interesting, creative, fun thing you can do today.  Then go do THAT day instead of the boring one on the first list.

And when it works for you , I hope you will all stop making “To Do” lists and start making “Opportunity” lists.

And have a great day!

David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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