Imagine this – you wake up to the sound of your alarm clock ushering in a new day. Immediately, you start thinking of everything you have to do. Your feet hit the floor and you’re off. Must have coffee.
- Take a shower
- Get the kids ready for school
- Drop off
- Pick up
- Soccer practice/Dance/Etc.
- Get the kids in bed
- Load of laundry
- Clean the kitchen
- Fall into bed completely exhausted
And then you lie there, and as you drift off to sleep you don’t think of the great day you just had. Nope, you think of all the things you didn’t do. Sound familiar?
This never-ending cycle is how so many women spend their days. A constant race to cross one more thing off the to-do list.
This is the cycle that has plagued me for far too long. I didn’t give myself credit for the things I did throughout the day, I worried about the things I didn’t do. I crossed one thing off my list and suddenly there were two (or three or four) more added.
To-Do List = Survival
To-do lists are a part of life. There will always be tasks to complete. But when we live by our to do lists, we are surviving. We’re just keeping our heads above water, just putting out the next fire. No wonder we’re exhausted at the end of day – we just saved ourselves from drowning and made sure the house didn’t go up in flames.
We spend our days as lifeguard, firefighter, superwoman, employee, chef, chauffer, friend, wife, mom…
But where on our to-do list are any of these things?
- Go grocery shopping
- Fix dinner
- Soccer practice
- Clean toilets
I’ve seen many to-do lists and this one is pretty typical. But what if we changed it?
- Hug my kids
- Say “I love you” to my husband
- Hold the door for a stranger
- Console a friend
- Be a great Mom
- Be a good person
“Sometimes the most important things aren’t on your to do list.”
Priorities = Living
What if, instead, we made a priority list? And we evaluated our days by how true we are to these priorities.
If you found out you only had a week to live, what would you do?
Close your eyes and think about it.
Did you see the faces of your children, husband and other loved ones? Did you think about the places you want to visit? Maybe you thought about an unfulfilled dream you’ve pushed to someday or the workouts and healthy eating you continue to delay.
These are your priorities. These are the things that inspire and motivate you.
Why are you waiting? Someday is today!
If we spend our days doing things that don’t bring us joy, we will end every day exhausted and empty. And the worst part is we haven’t been given a death sentence, but we aren’t truly living.
It’s Time for a Change
I don’t claim to have it all figured out, but I have taken a few key steps.
- I defined my priorities and I wrote them down. I didn’t worry about what other people thought I should be doing. I wrote down what was more important to me – the things that make a difference in my life and inspire me.
- 90/90/1 Rule. This is a great video by Robin Sharma on productivity, but the 90/90/1 rule is the only concept I’ve implemented, and it WORKS.
- I started writing down my biggest accomplishment every day. Sometimes it’s as simple as completing a task or something I learned. Sometimes it’s a mindset shift I noticed or a new idea. Last Sunday, I wrote, “I did NOTHING, and it was wonderful.”
I really believe these three steps work together, but #3 has made the biggest impact for me. I’ve been doing this since mid July, and it is very rewarding to look back and see how much progress I have made in so many areas of my life. Writing down the thing I am most proud of every day trains my brain to focus on what I did accomplish instead of what I didn’t accomplish.
This is a process and like all processes, it’s not going to happen overnight. The results I have seen so far are proof enough for me that these new habits are worth continuing.
I highly encourage you to try these things. You are more than your to do list.
Does your to-do list define you? Do you feel empty at the end of the day and wonder where your day went? Are you ready to start living by your priorities?
Was this post helpful? If so, be sure to pin it to refer to later!