I was in one of these list-making sessions this week and became frustrated with the cycle. I’ve tried making appointments with myself, but I would stand myself up. I’ve tried rewarding myself, but I gave myself the reward without doing the task. I’m constantly procrastinating, then beating myself up about it.
This was a rare day off and I wanted to make the most of it. As usual, I began with a to-do list, but it quickly got out of hand. More and more projects seemed to jump on the pile. I could feel myself shutting down from the weight of all these things that wanted to get done.
Stop! I had to do something different. It hit me. Instead of a to-do list, why not make a to-be list? It could be an interesting exercise instead of the same old complaining. My shoulders relaxed.
One of my tasks was to mark my music. My choir had a big performance coming up and I’d brought my score home to make notes. On my to-do list, prepare music for the concert. On my to-be list, I wrote ‘I’ll be musical.’ After revising several items, I even changed the task to present tense so the sentence became ‘I am musical.’
Here’s what my list looked like:
Walk in the park I am healthy
Start a new chapter I am creative
Write 500 words I am focused
Take books to the boys I love my grandchildren
Check email I engage others and enjoy my friends
Write blog post I am thoughtful
Go to grocery store I am blessed to have plenty
There was gratitude in my to-be list, to be sure, but more than that, I achieved a focus on now. I paid attention to how I felt during each task rather than put the task in the future or tell myself that I’d failed in the past. Eckhart Tolle says “Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.” My to-do list had me focused on the future which never worked out. If I allowed myself to savor my life and the things in it, I might get more done. Or I might simply enjoy my life more.