do_doing_doneI can not in any way take credit for this idea. Some quick searches around the web will give you great resources in the form of images, books, and applications that can explain the Do, Doing, Done Board in more detail. However, I have to share it, if you have not heard about it, because it is so helpful. This actually came to me from one of my friends that keeps her office super organized and clutter-free. Her profession requires her to be detail-oriented and thorough so I take organization tips from her seriously. Over Thanksgiving break she excitedly shared the idea and showed me a picture of her Do, Doing, Done Board and it immediately inspired me. I already had a white board hanging over my desk so I simply got out a ruler and a dry-erase marker and drew a grid. Then I used the post-it’s that were in my desk and got to the work of putting together my visual to-do list. So with zero investment I can proudly say that the Do, Doing, Done Board has made a huge impact on both how organized I am around action items and helped me increase my mental clarity.

Here’s how it works. You have 3 columns: Do, Doing, and Done. In the first column you put on a post-it anything you need to DO. I mean anything. It can be work-related, home-related, health-related, family-related, anything that pops into your head as an action item that you need to DO at some point.

The second column is for items that you are currently working on, hence the title, Doing. This is brilliant because I have always used to-do lists but there are some items that have multiple parts and you cannot simply check them off your list. There is also a lot of satisfaction that comes from moving the post-it from the Do column to the Doing column even if you know you can not complete the task. Things that I couldn’t completely finish often stayed on the to-do list longer because of the amount of time it would take, this actually encourages me to start things that I would have previously avoided because I couldn’t just check them off. My Doing column is currently the busiest column of my board and I get super excited when I can move something from Doing to Done.

The Done column is of course for the items that you have finished. You may question the need for a Done column as I initially did, but if you are list checker, than you already know. It’s the simple satisfaction of seeing your Done’s accumulate. The progression of the post-it across the board makes you feel good, accomplished, and productive. When that thing no longer makes me feel good, I toss it in trash and figure out which item I can move next. It’s become like a game, and I love games, especially ones I can win. So everytime I get that post-it to the finish line the competitor in me gets to win.

The best part of this board is that I can literally see the progress that I’m making. When I made the board everything was in the Do column, now I can see the flow. Things come on and off and some stay in the Doing column for a little bit, but nothing needs to stay in my head. That’s the important part. I can be quick to add Do’s but if I look at them long enough, sometimes I realize I actually don’t want to or need to Do that thing. Then I just take the post-it off because it’s cluttering my board with unimportant stuff. That is a great feeling too. Before the board that feeling of needing to Do something that really is not essential would have taken up valuable head space for a longer period of time.

One last tip – date your post-its! Very helpful to see some of those lingering items and be honest with yourself. Is that something you are really going to do? If not, let it go!

Inspired? Let me know. I’d love to see a picture of your Do, Doing, Done board.

Update 8/13/15: I can not believe how many of you out there are excited about the idea of the Do, Doing, Done board! You have inspired me to take this idea to the next level. I’ve got something exciting cooking in the kitchen. Click here and I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready.