It seems every day I have the same fight with myself. What will I get done today? How much can I complete? Will there be enough time to finish a project, run this errand, make dinner, write, call a friend, do laundry… the list in my head is perpetual. I cross two things off and I add four more. It’s like a bad reoccurring dream that haunts me day in and day out.
My “to-do” list is paralyzing. I scan and scour it daily, but it never seems to budge. What’s worse, it’s how much attention I give it. I wish it would just cut me a break sometimes.
I finally realize that it isn’t my endless list of to do’s that are so troubling, but the attention I’ve been placing on it. I put so much emphasis and significance into my list that I haven’t been able to focus on what matters most each and every day.
You see, my life B.C. (Before Children), I had (it seemed) endless hours in every day. I could work out, complete projects, make dinner, meditate, take a phone call, cross multiple things off my list, and still have a bit of energy left over at the end of the day. With my previous (superpowers) ability, I mistook doing for meaning.
Now, without the ability to get a fraction (80%, no 60%, more like 40%) of the stuff done I could have B.C., I find myself struggling for even MORE MEANING in my life. Yet, since I’ve made this attachment and association in mind that equates to, “getting things done = more significance” I’m in a bit of a quandary.
Then, today, as I’ve been feeding myself different thoughts in my mind about how to shift this (icky) feeling, I realized that I could begin to measure my life in a new way. Instead of feeling success by how many check marks I could etch on my paper to do list, to instead, stop and measure the day by what mattered most.
It would look something like this.
Things to do
- Call client about logistics for event
- Book travel
- Update programs and offerings on website
- Update LinkedIn Account
What Mattered Most
- Woke up early (5:10 a.m. to be exact) to be with Rawley who couldn’t get himself back to sleep
- Spent an hour meeting with a refugee (and her three children) from Myanmar who have been here for four months and are trying to figure out the system and learn English
- Enjoyed an hour with a friend, her baby, and Rawley at Book Babies—singing to the kids and talking mom-talk (remember this shit ain’t easy and I’m not alone!)
- Dinner with my husband to celebrate our 2nd Anniversary
When I look back on the day and review it from a “what mattered most” perspective instead of the typical “what I could have, should have or wished to have done” for the day, I can remember that what I am doing is important. It may not be deemed significant in the most traditional sense, but it is what essentially matters most.
It is these precious moments in life that matter most to me now, but I sometimes get blindsided, coerced, or persuaded to believe that my own personal value should look more like a conquered to do list with career advancement, rather than relishing in the present moment of each and every day. Yet, every time I go back to my old habits of doing and hyper, crazy, super-productivity mode I find myself missing out on what really mattered that day, on moments I can never take back or change.
What matters most to you today? Can you measure your own life by these milestones instead of the ones our society often values?
P.S. And… just to show you how super, un-productive I’ve been lately, I wrote this blog on Monday and it took me until Thursday to post it!