My to-do list has a dark side. There are days when my to-do list glares at me while I sip a second cup of coffee or whispers words of condemnation when I lay down for a nap. My to-do list can be harsh and judgmental. I can’t believe I’m going to tell you this—but my to-do list actually called me a worthless failure the other day. Unbelievable, right?!
Who gave my to-do list that kind of power? Well, I guess I did.
Every morning, for as long as I can remember, I wake up and start making a to-do list. Some items are small, like ‘wash dishes’ or ‘schedule doctor visit’. Other items are bigger such as ‘go through the boys’ clothing’ or ‘plan marketing presentation’. I love seeing check marks next to each item on my to-do list. Ah, isn’t that the best feeling? It makes me feel like a superhero!
I’m probably not the only one who feels like there aren’t enough hours in a day. I hop out of bed and hit the ground running. Between emails, dishes, meetings, grocery shopping and signing permission slips I barely have time to gather my thoughts. The day rushes by—and I know by evening I’ll hit a wall of exhaustion. We’ll have dinner, cuddle on the couch while watching Netflix, then fall into bed. The next day it starts all over again.
But recently I’ve been rethinking my to-do list. I give it too much power–way too much power. I’ve been letting my to-do list determine my self-worth. If I accomplish a lot, I’m a wonderful person. On an unproductive day, I’m a waste of space. Both of those statements are lies. I am me, just me—creative, kind, imperfect, unique and amazing. I actually need downtime. I thrive when I have space to do nothing. Making time to clear my head and think brings new ideas and clarity. Rushing isn’t effective—in fact, it makes things worse. And when I’m tired I’m such a grump. My meltdowns are not fun to watch.
I’ve been experimenting with a different approach. I still use a to-do list but there’s a lot less on it. I’m learning I can only accomplish a few things each day and I have to prioritize what’s most important. Instead of getting everything done, I’m getting the most important things done. I’m intentionally slowing down and making room for peace and calm. This necklace is my reminder to make space to breath and stop trying to do it all.
Yesterday I didn’t make our bed like I usually do and it wasn’t a big deal.
I didn’t make it to the grocery store, but we got by.
I didn’t fold the clothes in the dryer. I let them wait.
I didn’t return emails. I just didn’t get to it.
And I didn’t stress out. I got some other, really important things done. And it was enough.
With my more streamlined, kind-hearted to-do list life continues to move forward–everyone is bathed, dressed, fed and healthy. The world hasn’t spun off it’s axis. In fact, although not everything is getting done, I’m getting the important things done. I’m prioritizing what matters most. Instead of trying to do everything halfway or ‘good enough’. I’m doing less but giving it my full attention. I’m rushing less. I’m scheduling less and making room for downtime. I feel stronger, more peaceful and present. Overall I’m better. It’s been life-changing. I think I’m hooked.
My to-do list doesn’t determine my self-worth.
I’m already worthy and loved.
I’m already enough, just as I am.
How’s your to-do list treating you lately?