I’ve got a thousand things on my to do list… always. Appointments to make and attend, things to get fixed or call someone about, groceries to get, closets to organize, trips to plan, meals to cook and so on. You know, the endless list we all have.
For a long time the perfectionist in me just kept adding stuff to the list and then seeing how much I could get done each day. And for a while (years), it felt good to check off as much as I could in that day. It felt like I was being accomplished or being “good” for getting it all done. But then at some point all that doing felt meaningless. There was just more to do the next day. What was the point?
Although I felt organized and like I was checking all the boxes, I realized I was missing a really key ingredient …. me ….. and my deeper soulful, contentment.
It take me a while to figure this out. But essentially I realized that in order to have my life feel meaningful, organized and successful, I needed to have ALL the key ingredients of a fulfilling day on ONE SIMPLE DAILY LIST, that was in service to both my Doing and my sense of Well Being and contentment.
So I started to shift my formula and I reframed my to do list to service all areas of my life equally including me. It’s a new habit or discipline that I also work to teach my clients:
Start a DAILY to do list. That’s right a new list for each day rather than the long, stressful and never ending perfectionist’s list that I used to lug around, constantly adding to it. On your Daily List, write only what you can actually get done in 1 day.
In addition to writing work and family to do’s on the daily list, also include the things that you need to do to feel vitality, joy, purpose, learning, connection and so on. The sorts of things I had on my list include how much sleep I will get, when and what I feel feed myself, exercise and meditation. It may also include time to spend with my husband or kids or a friend.
Have a credo that you will keep your list simple and that you will attend equally to getting all things on your list done each day. Don’t prioritize anything over your self care or your sleep.
Consider implementing a “POWER HOUR” in to your life a few days a week. I adore the concept of the POWER HOUR - borrowed from Gretchen Rubin. The idea is that you set a timer for an hour and then you do something that you’ve needed to tackle - like a speedy house clean up or another project you’ve been putting off.
LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH THE INTENTION OF MEETING YOUR OWN NEEDS. For life to feel good, we must both have some semblance of our systems running well and our own vitality, creativity and connection with self, purpose, loved ones and that which inspires us to expand. IE. Put your own oxygen mask on first.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. You have to forge the path that feels right and responsible and meaningful for you. Adjust accordingly. Be in a regular conversation with yourself about what working/not working. If you fall away from the habit, come back.
If you want to see a copy of the daily list sheet that we use with clients, click here.