Mention the movie “Groundhog Day” and everyone knows what you mean. The 1993 Bill Murray classic featured its star reliving the same day over and over. If you are like many, the time at home may make you think you are stuck in that movie. It’s a classic case of “Groundhog Day Syndrome.”

Our environment alone causes us to act. When it’s Sunday, we get up and go to church. We run errands with shopping list in hand. We visit a favorite restaurant.

When Monday rolls around, we’re in the car and off to work. We would complain about interruptions. However, the questions from coworkers provide “mini-deadlines” and keep us moving.

Without the places to go and the people to see, the days begin to run together. When the state reopens, what do we have to show for all the discretionary time we had?

The “Master List” and the “Daily List”

If tomorrow is to hold excitement, it will be because you built it today. When your eyelids open, what’s the thing that excites you? Let’s start by creating a “Master List.” 

A “Master List” is everything you have to do now or in the future. The problem most people experience is that thoughts come and go. Trap it all in one place. If you’re new to the idea of a “Master List,” grab a legal pad and start writing down everything that comes to mind. 

As new tasks come up during the day, add them to the list. Add the phone calls to return, phone calls you are expecting others to return to you, household projects, needed online orders, etc. Everything is in one place. Because you will be writing items on that list as soon as they occur to you, forgetting becomes a thing of the past.

Crafting tomorrow today

In the evening, look at the Master List. Pick some things for tomorrow. List them in the order you will do them. Word the tasks so they are easy to do. The idea is to make the list as attractive as possible.

Before retiring for the evening, look at the list. If you’ve crafted it correctly, you have a reason to get up and get going tomorrow.

What’s the best tool?

The best tool is the one you will use. For some people, a pocket memo pad is enough. Start from the back end with your Master List. Use the front page for the Daily List. In the evening, recopy anything you didn’t get done onto the next sheet and add a few things from the Master List.

For years, I used a paper planner. The two-page-per-day Day-Timer or Franklin Planner are good choices. Use pages in the back of the book for the Master List.

For almost 20 years, I have used a digital list. I presently use Remember The Milk. It allows me to forward emails to it and add tasks with my voice. I can add repeating tasks that automatically show up every week, every month, every year, or at any other interval. Finally, the digital list provides the freedom from ever having to rewrite anything.

No more “Groundhog Day Syndrome”

Regardless of the tool, the tactics are the same. First, have a place, a “Master List,” to trap everything you need to do. That way, you never have to worry about what you have forgotten. Second, review that Master List regularly. Pull the items onto your Daily List that lead to a day well-lived.

You’ve got one shot at tomorrow. What will you do with it?