I love a good planner. Like...LOVE a good planner. Especially one with a section for detailed notes and enough space to create a detailed to-do list. To-do lists not only help me to stay organized and get a better hand on my schedule, they help me to manage my priorities and add structure to my life. They work to help me better manage my time and which areas I should focus much of my attention on. They also help me to prevent stretching myself too thin.
To-do lists can be rewarding as we cross out completed activities. They are also I great reminder of whether we are just busy or busy and productive (there's a difference and I promise we will talk about it soon). To-do lists, however, can have a downside. Sounds crazy, right? Follow me on this one...
Have you ever had those days when your to-do list is stacked, but you can't seem to focus on anything long enough to complete a task? Or maybe it isn't your focus. Maybe the list is entirely too daunting and just looking at it becomes overwhelming and enough to create anxiety (this is me). If looking at your to-do list causes any of these feelings, I challenge you to look at it from a mindfulness perspective.
The tasks on your to-do list all have a purpose and I doubt that any of those tasks are meant to intentionally stress you out or cause feelings of anxiety. More often than not, the tasks on your to-do list have been placed there to ensure that you show up for yourself and/or others and to help you reach daily/weekly/monthly/lifelong goals that will improve your life or help you develop yourself in some way. Instead of looking at these tasks as a list of things to do, reframe and rename that list as your "betterment list".
Before creating your list, take a few deep breaths to begin to find your focus. Take a moment to ground and notice the sensations that are being sent throughout your body. Close your eyes and visualize yourself as already accomplished. If you feel tension in your body, begin to release it with each exhale. Allow your mind to be present with your body.
Now that you're in a better space, check in with yourself. Reflect on what you feel and the thoughts that arrive. Feel free to jot down these thoughts. Once you have completely released, begin to list the things that you hope to accomplish today. I break down my week by the day and then by the hour. Looking at your goals in smaller chunks versus looking at the bigger picture is helpful in gaining organization without feeling overwhelmed.
In addition to writing down what you would like to accomplish, for each day, make sure to write down 2-3 activities that are solely for you and aid in your relaxation. For example, setting aside ten minutes to disconnect from technology and simply breathe or meditate on the present is helpful with creating balance in your life. Be intentional with giving yourself grace, rest, and kindness.
Challenge yourself throughout the week to reframe how you view your to-do list. For example, instead of viewing grocery shopping as a chore or task, rename and reframe it as an opportunity to gain items that help you to sustain life for you and your family. Your effectiveness with completing your to-do list begins with your mindset. You can do it!