I’m a perpetual list-maker, in case you didn’t already know that. I love making to-do lists. I like being organized. I like knowing what the day before me holds.
But sometimes my own tendencies trip me up and make me anxious. When there’s too much on the list, I get stressed as I try to think of how I can somehow manage to get them all in anyway.
It’s all too easy to spiral into a whirlwind of craziness in the name of getting things done. Productivity is great, but it’s not the end goal. There’s not much point in doing things just to do things.
Crossing things off a checklist feels good, but if I don’t put the most important things first and recognize which are too trivial to worry about at all, I’m still going to be dissatisfied at the end of the day when there are items left, regardless of how many I’ve already crossed off.
Sometimes I just need to focus on today.
Today, I’m going to eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full.
Today, I’m going to make enough food for the next couple days and not worry about the rest of the week.
Today, I’m going to smile and have joy no matter what happens.
Today, I’m going to have a good attitude about work.
Today, I’m going to be grateful for what I have instead of lamenting what I lack.
Today, I’m going to be present and pay attention to the people around me.
Today, I’m going to make an effort to reach out and do something nice for people around me.
By definition, choosing the most important things for my day identifies the rest as comparatively insignificant. It sets my priorities for the day, reminding me of what’s most important, what really matters. And that’s critical, especially in this busy season.
While many of the things on my list aren’t productive in the traditional sense (like cleaning my house would be, for instance), they’re far better. They are steps toward becoming who I want to be, and their impact reaches farther than that of a clean house or piles of clean laundry. They impact more than just me and more than just today.
Of course there are dozens of other things I can and probably will do, but I’m going to do these things first because they’re the most necessary for my sanity and my life. If I get every little minute detail done without touching the big things, then I’m no better off than if I had done nothing but lie on the couch and binge-watch Netflix all day (which sounds pretty good right now).
What are you going to do today?
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