Sometimes my To Do List seems endless. As I check off one item, I add two more. Yikes!
Curiosity is a wonderful feminine energy, and I’ve decided to practise it by giving up my To Do List. Yes, the dreaded
Here’s the experiment. Over several days I’m going to see what alternative I can create to help me take consistent action but without a To Do List. I’ll also pay attention to how I feel, and how much I accomplish.
I post my intention in my Fierce and Feminine Facebook Group. A friend comments: To Do List: 1. Give up To Do List. HA!
I go through a stack of notes on loose paper. Some of it I don’t remember what it meant or what I wanted it for so into the recycle bin it goes. Yay!
I’m willing to discover and uncover. Will I find out that what seemed to matter so much is no longer even on my radar? Will I feel free?
Giving up my To Do List is not a walk in the park. It feels strange, like I’m missing a hand or an eye or a foot.
Can I exist without a list?
My brain keeps poking me with all the things I should be doing. My desk is strangely empty. I’ve gotten rid of all those little scraps of paper I grab whenever I think of something – an idea, a memo, a reminder of something I have to DO.
All the items worthy of keeping are now written into my binder where they should be.
But if they’re in the binder and I don’t have a reminder, how will I remember where I put them? Or what they are? Yikes again!
Now I’m starting to feel the freedom.
It seems like I’m accomplishing just as much or even more, but being stressed less. Work is more playful! Ideas flow more easily. I allow myself to be curious.
What would happen if I did this instead of that?
My pace is way slower but we all know the story of the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise, that’s me.
As I’m experimenting with the idea of going slow to go fast, an email synchronistically arrives in my inbox with the subject line “the beautiful terror of going slower.” (from Danielle LaPorte) I know what she means. Being completely free of a To Do List is a big scary fun exciting deal. It runs counter to everything that we’re taught about being successful in business and life.
We’re taught that having a list guides us to the Goal. It’s a way to get THERE.
That’s good, right?
But more and more I’m asking, “What is so all fired important about getting THERE??
You see, it’s becoming clearer to me that goals and getting there are patriarchal constructs. They discourage curiosity, changes in direction, intuitive hits, having fun, and going for something much more important than the Big Win.
In this experiment I’m redefining THERE. I don’t have a “Katalogue” any more.
What I’m noticing:
Having no list of required tasks creates more awareness. I’m more in touch with what I really want, instead of imposing tasks on myself and doing them just because they’re on the list.
Feelings of peace and harmony amplify the pleasure of getting things done.
Going slower and not feeling tied to a To Do List also gives me permission to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes – naps!
At this point, you might be thinking, “This is all good in theory, but in practical terms, if I give up my list, how do I get stuff done?”
I’m not an expert yet, but these are some of the ideas I’ve used during my experiment.
How To Get Stuff Done Without a To Do List
1. First, maintain a master record of projects. I looked at the list when I started my experiment, so I’d recommend reviewing your projects every week or ten days and update any notes.
2. If you have the ability to do so (when you have decision making power), choose which projects are higher on the scale of fun, pleasure, creativity, and the good kind of challenge. Make them a priority. If any task is only for the purpose of making money without any of the other attributes, dig deep and question whether you want to do it. Abundance means many things including money. What do you want abundance to look like for you?
3. Make note of which projects you can complete by yourself and which ones you’ll need help with. That will affect when you do what.
4. At the beginning of each day and several times throughout, sit quietly in silence, eyes closed, focusing on your breath and ask, “What is my assignment for today/right now/for the next hour/etc?”
5. Trust the answer and write it down with just a word or two. Contrary to a To Do List which places almost all of the contents in future time, what you write down is in present time. Right here and now.
6. Work on your assignment for a set amount of time (less than an hour), and then get up and walk around, shift your energy, take a break of some kind before continuing. (For your work periods, try this focus audio and see if 45 minutes at a time works for you.) When you continue, ask the question from #4 again.
Take Some Time and Find What Works for You
If you’ve relied on your To Do List for a long time, giving it up will likely feel strange at first, especially for Type A personalities, but keep going and observe how you feel and how much you accomplish.
And prepare to be exquisitely delighted and surprised.
I was. I like it so much I’m going to continue the no-to-do-list approach.
How about you?
Add your comments below.
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash