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Get Rid of Your “To Do” List and Get Things Done

What’s your relationship like with your to do list?

Up until recently mine has been a ‘kinda like/mostly hate’ thing, born of necessity and obligation, an entity that is always growing and never done. And then I had a shift in perspective – one that has really changed the energy around it, made it infinitely more manageable, and dialed the motivation factor way up.

The Problem With ‘To Do’s’

‘To do’ is a head thing. You decide what ‘needs’ to be done, and then you strategize when and how you will approach the task. For example if cleaning your closet is a ‘to do’ thing – you think of how the task looks, how much time it will take, and what needs to happen to get it done. There is very little (if any) heart in this approach – it just feels like one more thing on your list you have to get to.

How to Turn it Into LOVE/LOVE

I was talking with my coach last week about wanting to get into more action in my world, and mentioned I was feeling stalled and unmotivated. As we explored the areas I was looking to get creating in, it occurred to me that a much more compelling perspective than ‘what do I need to do?’ is ‘what’s wanting to happen?’ As I played with this idea I noticed that my whole attitude shifted. I started to light up at the prospect of honouring all the things that were really wanting to happen in my world – they felt like a magnet pulling me forward.

‘What’s wanting to happen’ is visceral – you feel it in your body, and it’s captivating because it is focused on the juicy, awesome ‘why’ of the thing instead of the ‘need to/have to/should’ aspect of it.

When writing a blog post becomes ‘what’s wanting to happen’, I am focused on the feeling of satisfaction that doing the task will bring. What’s wanting to happen is connection with my audience, bringing value, having a beneficial impact, dancing in the creative process of writing, and the fun of sharing my learning!

Because my focus is on the compelling ‘for the sake of’ reason for diving in, I am pulled forward into the task by my heart, instead of pushing forward against the resistance of ‘have to’.

It becomes a  joyful process, because I feel a huge desire to engage in creating what I want.

Clearly Connecting the Want to the Task

It’s important to really connect with the want, and then tie it to the task. When you think of the thing that needs doing, take a moment to settle into your heart and get clear on the why – and then be sure to write that down beside the item on the list. For example – on today’s list is organizing a kitchen cupboard. The why is that I want to honour the space that holds the food that nourishes me, and I want to honour myself by living in order rather than chaos.

This is the wind in my sails that keeps me moving forward when the doing starts to feel uninspired, or I am tempted to put it off for another day.

I started playing with this perspective 3 days ago, and so far have cleaned and organized 4 different areas of my home that have been on my ‘to do’ list – undone – for over a year. It was easy and efficient – and my heart is happily scanning for the next thing on the list.

Applying it to the Bigger Picture

This perspective also weeds out anything on the list that is not truly aligned with what you want in your life.

When you start your day with a “What’s wanting to happen today?” list – and then look at it again and ask,”What’s MOST wanting to happen?” – it quickly becomes evident where you want to prioritize your time.

When you apply this approach to the bigger goals in your life – you get clear on a deep level if the thing you’re pursuing is actually a fit for your heart and soul.

If it’s not, then is that really where you want to spend the precious moments of your life?

Good to ponder:

“When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object.” – Milan Kundera

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2 Responses to Get Rid of Your “To Do” List and Get Things Done

  1. Sharlene Stushnov-Lee says:

    I love this Liz. It really makes a lot of sense. Especially for those of us that are chronic list makers!

  2. Lol! I love this too. I spent the week being besieged by ‘have-to-do’s’. (And fighting them just as passionately!) Wish I’d have read this on Monday. :)

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