To Be vs. To Do Lists

Last Sunday, I had a laundry list of to do’s I wanted to get done. Because I wanted to be cognizant of my time, I even time-boxed them! Christmas cards will be 1 hour. Decorating the tree will be 2 hours. This coaching call will be 1 hour. And the list went on and on. I had more than 12 hours of time-boxed to do’s for Sunday. It was way more than I had time in the day if I was honest. It felt exhausting to think about, yet I was on a mission and hell-bent on getting it all done. It highlighted the fact that the achiever saboteur was lurking in me that day. That list screamed doing was more important than being that day.

I went about my to-do list that day. Coaching call done in one hour. Check. Christmas cards done in one hour. Check. I was checking stuff off my list. Check. Check. Check.

Then, a very good thing happened that pulled me away from my to do list in the middle of one of my to-do’s for the day. I was putting up Christmas ornaments on the tree around 1:15 in the afternoon when a good friend of mine texted me. She said she was decorating her tree and couldn’t find this one ornament that was near and dear to her family. I texted that I had too much stuff and could not find a certain decoration myself.

Then, the magic happened. She picked up the phone and called me! And we had a lovely nearly hour and a half long conversation! We hadn’t talked in a while. We covered a lot of ground in those 90 minutes. I didn’t even think about my to do list in those 90 minutes. I was doing something I 100% loved – having a deep conversation with a dear person. It also meant I was being a friend, and being a listener, and being a supporter, and being an inspiration all in one.

Having this deep conversation meant an hour and a half of planned to do’s didn’t get done.

And that’s ok because it reminded me that sometimes we create unnecessary burden for ourselves. We fill our days with to do’s rather than to be’s. We fill our days with things that really don’t matter in the end.

It feels good checking things off a list. Yet, nothing feels better than having a deep conversation with someone and having it be unplanned to boot! It reminds you how important it is to be more than it is to do.

Next time you have a lengthy to do list, ask yourself what’s really important and cross some things off the list and replace them with “to be”items. Will you replace some to do’s with to be inspiring? To be relaxed? To be in the moment? What will be one of you to be items?

One thought on “To Be vs. To Do Lists

  1. This is beautiful. I have memory problems (thanks hormones) and when I first started to face my totally disordered life I was an over planner. I haven’t been happier then since I have slowed down and “rolled with it” more often than not now!

    Like

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