The To-Do List: Friend or Foe?

With the holiday season upon us, many of us are making our to-list lists, checking them twice, and adding more and more …. in fact, probably spending more time making the lists than actually tackling the things that are on the list. Some of us might even add something to the list, that we’ve already done, just to feel the accomplishment of then crossing it off the list… Don’t deny it. You’ve done it.

We make these to-do lists in the hopes of actually being able to complete the list. Lets be honest, we will never complete these lists. We will constantly want to be striving to do more, make something better, trying to be ahead of the game, and yet, often we are still feeling very far behind.  We stare at these lists and feel defeated. We are dragged down by the knowledge that the list is going to beat us. It is always going be there and we will never defeat it.

Here is the change in perspective, the kaleidoscope view, for that never ending to-do list: Make it your friend, not the judging foe who is staring you down like a failure. Make peace with the fact that the list is going to be a constant in your life, much like a friend, helping support you and guide you through your days. The to-do list can separate the must-get-dones, the want-to-get dones, and the hope-to-get-dones. The to-do list can help you make better, more thought-out decisions on how your days/weeks/life should look. Therefore, be honest with yourself on what you do put on the list. Maybe even sort your list into must do, want to do, and hope to do. Groceries would fall under must and that awesome Pintrest project would fall under want, and realistically, organizing the storage room in the basement would fall under “hope” but probably won’t do. To be honest, my list currently has no organization about it.

Most importantly, your to-do list means you haven’t thrown in the towel on life.  You haven’t given up. You are going to wake up the next day and keep trying to tackle the list down. You want more out of life. You want to give more to life. You have a purpose. You are going to rise to that list and take what pieces you can off the list, feeling so much accomplishment and pride. Then, much faster than you took the items off,  you will add more to the list with great aspirations and visions of what could be.

So, as I look upon the piles of to-do lists that I have floating around on the dreaded collect-all counter, and around my lesson plan book, and taped to the back of my phone (because it is more in my face than in the notes section of my phone), I am going to spin that anxiety of having soooooooo much to do, to the peace of knowing I have a purpose. I am calmer knowing that I won’t get it all done, ever. The list isn’t mocking me, screaming “failure” at me, but rather letting me know where I am headed. Anything that I can get off the list is a success and anything I can add to it is an even bigger success that I am here, I have hopes, and I have a path to reach them. Because really, the to-do list is really just a daily bucket list and all your days add up to your life.

What’s on your list? What are you going to do with your life?