I’m big on To Do lists.
Maybe because there is always so much To Do.
I get an unusual amount of gratification by crossing off items on my To Do list.
Merely creating the list fuels my sense of productivity even if I’m ultimately not that productive. It’s like doing a giant brain dump onto paper and seeing it all in black and white.
Then I’m supposed to implement items on the list into my Three-Step Action Plan. If I’m being honest, they don’t always make it there.
Whatever I don’t actually Do gets carried over to the next To Do list. You know, items that fell through the cracks. From yesterday. Last week. Fall of 2014.
Sometimes I never get around to crossing off those final few items, long after they’ve lost any real importance.
A friend swears by creating a To Do list only after she has already completed the task at hand, so that she can cross off the item right away. It’s already done. Insta-gratification.
To Do or To Don’t?
But this post is about a different kind of list. It’s not a To Do list at all.
It’s a Could Do list.
It’s all the things you COULD do if you wanted to.
Think of your Could Do list not of how much there is To Do, nor what you Should Do.
Your Could Do list is everything you might like to do. Someday.
If you had the time. If you had the desire. If you had the wherewithal, the balls, the chutzpah to even try.
Unlike a To Do list – all those things that NEED to get done – a Could Do list is all those things that have no such necessity.
They’d just be nice to do… if you could do them.
And they may open the door to your next chapter.
They can change your future.
Or simply feed your soul.
What Could you Do?
I Could Do any these things:
Pitch a publisher my book proposal. Take up weightlifting again. Join a women’s hiking group. Go back to school for strategic communications. Re-enter the corporate world. Learn to bake my grandmother’s coffee cake. Travel even though it’s not advisable right now. Try going vegan for a week. Plan a trip to Paris in 2021 and hope for the best.
Will I actually DO any of these Could Do’s?
Perhaps I Should.
But “should” implies guilt whereas “could” merely invites opportunity.
I Could Do these things if I choose to.
My list is a reminder, not of all I haven’t yet accomplished, but of all I might like to accomplish. Of things I Could Do simply because I… could.
The list is there for me to consider, edit, delete, add to.
The list helps me visualize and dream or plan if I want to.
Or I could just watch Cobra Kai on Netflix. It really is my choice.
You Could Do this too.
Or you could watch Cobra Kai. Season 3 is coming out in January, in case you could be interested.
Should you be? That’s up to you.
Don’t get so wrapped up in the daily doing of your To Do list that you lose sight of all that you Could Do.
That’s something you Should Do.
Valerie Gordon is the founder of Commander-in-She, LLC, a career and communications strategy firm. She delivers keynotes, workshops and virtual training to audiences of all size on the art and impact of storytelling for career and business success. She’s mom to two kids, two cats and a dog. She could do more than that, but she’s going to stick with what she has for now.