and giving the Trusted To-Do List a Time-Out this 2018
Carina Lawson, Founder & CEO at Ponderlily.com shares with us how to get your own To-Be list started
To-do lists; the all-so-familiar way to get things done. We have used them for as far as we can remember, they’re written in meetings, on Post-It Notes, in notebooks, as well as there being an app for them; Checklists are common practice when we need to get ourselves to do stuff; be it calls we are supposed to make, errands we are to run or work we need to accomplish. They give us a feeling of euphoria of some sorts, when we get to check items off of our lists. We feel accomplished, useful, and productive. However, we seem to crave that feeling over and over again so our lists get longer. When caught in this never-ending cycle, when do we pause to be open to positive opportunities and find fertile ground for growth?
Today, in a world where competition is on the rise, doing more and accomplishing more has become the order of the day. It’s like a professional sport really, with the ultimate prize being checking the most things off our to-do lists. When we do not do something on the list, we feel like we have failed greatly. We have fallen victim of the list, with every new dawn, we already have a list of what to do, everything planned out; each passing day, we are more overwhelmed by the checklists. We are enslaved by the to-do list so much that we forget to live our life, and pursue our goal of being what we want to be.
Bringing you the To-Be list
As the mother of twins under four, a full-time employee and with a company to run, you could call me ‘busy’. From school-runs to office work, I have the perfect definition of a full day. And remember I have a life of my own as a wife, friend, and daughter to live. So how do I cope with all that?
It all boils down to what I want to be. I want to be happy and healthy. For example, if my focus is on being healthy it does not necessarily mean that I have to go to the gym X number of times a week or for a certain length of time. To me, for example, it is more about the food choices I make, and the intentional movement I make throughout my day. It is about setting healthy boundaries (saying ‘no’) and finding time to manage how I respond to technology’s unremitting alerts. That’s what healthy means to me. Today. It may mean that I need to eat more iron-rich foods next month it may mean I need to do more yoga to feel more centered. To you, it may be something totally different.
This is what the To-be list is all about. It is what you want to be, and what you need to do to be what you want; There’s something powerful and incredibly empowering about saying, I am, and I want to be. It creates your reality and keeps you aligned with your values.
This way you don’t get to feel overwhelmed in an effort to accomplish a task. Instead, you live a fulfilling life because you can find space for meaning in what you do. It helps you to make decisions that aren’t motivated by a desire to ‘tick a box’, but to find space for considered connection that makes you feel authentic and alive. I still write Notes to Self so I don’t forget to get the milk from the supermarket but I find helpful limiting the number of things I do in a day. Our lives are bigger than the things we do in a day, so there is no way that our day should be measured solely by milestones and tasks.
Getting started with and practising your own to be list is very simple. All you need to do is first write down the things that you want to be in your life, for instance, “I want to be adventurous” or “I want to be a writer”.
Once the list is done and you have understood what it means to you, put it up somewhere where you can see it easily and from time to time. You can put it in your wardrobe door, refrigerator door or by your bathroom mirror.
Every time you want to do something, ask yourself, “Is this what I want to be? Is it helping me be what I want to be?” By so doing, you will find that your actions will align with how you want to be. In the long run, you will end up being closer to what was once an aspiration than you ever imagined. So, ask yourself, “What do I want to be?”
About the Author
Carina Lawson is the founder & CEO of Ponderlily Ltd, a UK-based brand that creates beautiful, environmentally-conscious gifts for mindful living.
As well as an Associate Director for Academic Operations in one of the world’s leading American academic and research institutions based in the Arabian Gulf, where she lives with her husband twin daughters.
For more information about Ponderlily please visit www.ponderlily.com