My Love-Hate Relationship with To-Do Lists

Anyone can tell you that 99% of the time, I’m on top of my game. My number one strength is disciple, so I love order and routine. Not a day goes by where I don’t make a game plan and consult my plethora of to-do lists. To me, there is nothing better than structuring my day by making a list (or a few) and crossing off each accomplishment one-by one. Seriously, I get a little burst of happiness every time I get to check something off of my list– I’m crazy I know.

However, sometimes I feel like to-do lists can be harmful for people like me. Instead of being a tool to help someone stay organized, they almost serve as a measurement for how “good” a day is for me. The more items I accomplish on my list, the better my day becomes. My mind focuses only on tangible tasks, rather than meaningful moments. Because of this, it’s so easy for me to become this busy-body; from the moment I wake up I’m reading my bible, doing chores, going to work. Check. Check. Check. If every part of my life becomes part of my to-do list, am I really enjoying these tasks or just completing them to feel more productive and accomplished?

I don’t want to live my life in constant “work” mode. I don’t want to feel bad or lazy if I have a day where I spend time just recharging by reading a book or cooking. I want to shift my focus from finishing tasks, and instead focus on being in the moment during these events. When I am focused on being productive, I lose precious moments with those that I love. Instead of being present with my family and friends, my mind is preoccupied with what I need to get done next. How good a day is shouldn’t be measured quantitatively, but rather qualitatively. Maybe, one day I just spend time with my mom at the farmer’s market. Sure, I don’t get any chores done, but I’m fostering my relationship with my mom. This is far more important than checking off a to-do list.

What I am trying to realize now, is that the best moments in life cannot be defined by a to-do list. For example, I can think I am doing my job as a Christian by reading my bible, praying, and going to church. Check. Check. Check. Faith is more than a check-list. This is the same with so many other areas of my life. To-do lists can be helpful, but they also can be controlling. Will I stop using them? No, because they are useful reminders of things that I need to get done. I just need to remember that there is more to life than just checking items off lists. I need to shift my focus from completing tasks to enjoying the tasks in each day. A day can be great without checking many items off of a list. It’s okay to slow down sometimes and just enjoy the life that we have been blessed with.


Lots of love,


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