Make a ‘To Do’ list worth getting lost in

This is a guest post by my wonderful friend Maxabella. Visit her blog for some whimsical musings on life … peppered with the occasional truth bomb!


Ever felt lost in your To Do list?

Out there, somewhere between ‘buy milk’ and ‘pay school fees’ there are thousands of us adrift. So many of us hovering uselessly around ‘PET FOOD!!!’ and even more lingering forlornly at ‘Send Mother’s Day card Wed latest’.  Last week the cues were immense on ‘Accommodation long weekend’ and there was a tailback a mile long at ‘Playdate – all kids 2pm, buy buns’.

Last time I looked, my trusty old To Do list had 36 items on it and not one of them is interesting. Stuff like ‘finish tax’, ‘write auto-response email’, ‘make bread’, ‘get extra fishing rod’ and ‘containers’ (whatever that even means).

Not only are my 36 things boring as batshit, they are also not even remotely important in the grand scheme of things. Nothing much at all will happen if I don’t make the bread, buy the rod, write the email or… containers. Probably I should finish the tax, but, let’s face it, that’s the most boring one of all and therefore likely to languish on the To Do list for eternity (sorry taxman).

Nowhere amongst my 36 things to do does it say ‘go somewhere new’, ‘eat a drippy peach’, ‘talk to a stranger about contentedness’, ‘light the lights’ or even ‘service husband’ (sorry husband). Not only does my list not say any of these important things, it is also so full of things To Do and Worry About Not Doing that I’ve left myself no room at all for dreaming up possibilities.

I caught myself dreaming up possibilities just the other day and before I could follow the yellow brick road to attend a five-day wedding in India my To Do list slapped me across the face and said, ‘Hello! Dreamer! Don’t you feel guilty about not doing the To Do?’

And you know what?

I did.

I feel guilty that there are always 36 or so things on the To Do list. Things come and they go, but generally there is always a lot to be going on with. There is no time for Indian weddings and no time for contemplating them either. My To Do list keeps me focused on the things than need to be done.

For whom and what and why, I am no longer certain, but I still feel guilty when my attention gets snapped away.

Trouble is, we’re all supposed to be so energetically focused these days on being goals and kicking ourselves (that might be the other way around), that a To Do list seems to be the only way to show evidence that we’re on track.

With such a pressing need to be busy, busy, busy, without a To Do list, do we even exist?

How’s this for some circular fun:

I hate the To Do list …  feel so guilty for not To Doing that I write ‘stop feeling guilty’ on the list …  don’t stop feeling guilty … hate the To Do list …

But I think I have a solution.

What if we all put all the important things on a To Do list right alongside ‘buy shoelaces’, ‘sharpen kitchen knives’ and ‘remember the paper!!’? What if our list had all the joyful-life stuff to balance the mundane –life stuff? Maybe our To Do list would start looking a little bit like this:

  • Buy milk
  • Sign permission slips
  • Lose time in the hammock
  • Pay scout camp fees
  • Get takeaway two nights in a row
  • Containers
  • Buy myself a diamond just because I’m great

Better yet, why don’t we just ditch all the crappy-life stuff (let’s face it, the world will not end if we run out of milk, even though I’m clearly obsessed with always having some in the house) and just went with the big-dreams stuff. So our To Do list would look something like this:

The real TO DO list

  • Be kind
  • Take off shoes
  • Embrace goodness
  • Give away $50
  • Say no more often
  • Say yes even more
  • Cook a meal for someone new
  • Say thank you a lot
  • Compliment wildly
  • Sing in the shower
  • Sing in the car
  • Sing in the checkout queue
  • Just sing because you can
  • Buy milk

Now there’s a To Do list worth getting lost in…

What’s your To Do list looking like today?