the real to-do list

the real to-do list
photo by jill banach

photo by jill banach

Sometimes I find that the more I scribble on my To Do list, the less I get done.

Why is this? I love lists! I love checking things off! This is what makes me tick. This is what keeps me organized. It’s not supposed to work this way!

I started tuning into some reasons why this might be the case. What I recognized was that when I have a so-called “busy” day ahead of me, I work in autopilot. I power through my list, working as efficiently as I can. I think many people can relate to this—when we are working hard to achieve our end goal, we may neglect other areas of our lives.

The goal is what matters and life will have to wait … right?

On these days, when you go from one thing to the next, it might not be until the end of the day that you finally feel like you can breathe. You can be a human at last. You can take in what is going on around you. You can let emotions flow back into your bones!

It may be hard to resist rushing through some days, but it becomes dangerous when this evolves into a habit. Because then, you become your To Do list. And you are so much more than that. You are more than your goals and your ambitions and your successes. You are a person. Your life is still happening, even on a busy day. You experience relationships, feelings, fears and hopes. And that’s what makes us so complicated—and so wonderful.

We are ambitious beings, often times to the point where we forget about taking care of what’s most important—ourselves, our mental and physical health. Something that has helped me to slide out of this autopilot mode is to reflect upon what is important to do for me each day. When too many days go by when you don’t do at least one of these things, you may not feel like yourself. This could be as simple as drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. Or stretching before bed. Or going on a walk. Or spending time in nature. Or journaling, or exercising. Anything productive in the sense that it allows you to connect to your inner-self. Furthermore, when we can count on at least one aspect of our lives to be consistent each day, we are on our way to a more centered mentality.

I have found that when I prioritize these tasks as much as any other list in my life, I can work through all that is going on with a clear mind. But more than that, I feel more alive and more myself.

Sometimes it really is the little things. Success bears many meanings. And depending on the day, it can change. It doesn’t always mean that you checked everything off your To Do list. If you always base your success on how much you got accomplished, you may find disappointment. After all, does this To Do list ever really end?

A successful day could mean that you drank a lot of water or you got a good night’s sleep. Don’t discount how valuable your health is. Give yourself credit anytime you work to improve it.

It’s a good idea to make mental or physical notes about what helps to make you feel like your fulfilled self. And when you’re feeling off, try going back to this and adjusting your day based on this, not based on any other list.

Be yourself again—sometimes it’s about how much you get done for yourself more than anything else.

A lifestyle blog about veganism, mood swings, & other chatter.