Making the Baby Steps Count

Calendar entries, sticky notes on your computer, iPhone reminders, napkin checklists—it doesn’t matter how you do it, checklists remind us that we've got something to accomplish. For those who aren't mega Type A, perhaps listing out all your obligations for the day or for a project is too intimidating. Or maybe seeing all your unfinished things at the end of the day doesn't feel so good.

Have you ever tried working the checklist "concept" from the opposite end—writing down all the things you did instead of all the things you didn't?

Here’s a 3-step method to help you see that you really are working. It's a rewarding system I like to call progress listing:

1.       Forget everything you know about “working:” Posting a photo of your planner alongside a latte is great. Reading back over your achievements inside the planner at the end of the week is even better. Dismiss everything you’ve seen on social media about “the hustle” and instead of posting about it, go do. “Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.”

Pencils by Sloane Stationary; Cambridge Edition planner: Target.

Pencils by Sloane Stationary; Cambridge Edition planner: Target.

2.       Write down every little thing: Grab your calendar, notebook, planner, a piece of paper—whatever you’d like to use, and at the end of each day, write down what you did to move you toward your goal. The 15 minutes of reading, the phone call to check on a venue, a sketch, the trip to the coffee shop to pin to your mood board, the quick convo with your friend to talk about your concepts—whatever it is, those tiny bits are your baby steps. Write them all down.

Every day, write down everything you did that had anything to do with your larger goal. You’re constantly writing things you’ve achieved so you’re constantly reinforcing your list of accomplishments.

3.      Keep your promises: As you get comfortable with this method, start to add goals you'd like to reach and place it over a day of the week. To-do lists are micro promises to keep to yourself in line while you’re headed to your objective. A little accountability won't hurt.

At the end of the week, look back. Baby steps are like pixels in a photo. A few black and white squares in the right order can make a stunning image.

—Aj

This is Fort Lily planning for last week (with the following week bleeding through the other side!)

This is Fort Lily planning for last week (with the following week bleeding through the other side!)

Ashley JohnsonComment