I am a chronic list creator. I make a to-do list every morning and try to tick every tiny thing off as I go about my day. I even make lists for things that don’t really need a list. Why is this so important? Well, I often feel down or low at the end of the day if I look at my list and I haven’t accomplished everything I wanted to that day. When I procrastinate and do not complete a certain task, usually something I didn’t want to do in the first place, I just see it over and over again as I write it out on each new to do list. I end up staring at the same task everyday with the same dreaded feeling.
So why do I put myself through this? Well it’s because the list does every now and again work and this is just the way I thought organised people do it. What happens when something pop’s up in life? We cannot control everything and if you are anything like me, the to-do list goes straight out the window. Until the next morning when again I awake and stare at my unchecked to do list from the day before and my now new checklist. With so much to do I often feel as though I want to give up before I have even begun.
"Don't equate your self-worth with how you do in life. You aren't what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don't..you aren't" Dr Wayne Dyer
So, what if we didn’t always think about the long to-do lists. How do you look back on your day? Do you think about previous and future to do lists? How do you measure the quality of your day? Is it based on how many things you checked off?
Many of us measure the quality of our days by what we have done and how much we have accomplished. We often look back and count the things on that long to-do list that we could get checked off. You may think the more the better and it can often make us feel disheartened if we have not completed as much as we had hoped. You might judge the quality of your day on how much praise you have received for completing tasks or even by comparing ourselves to others. No matter how little we got done it may give you a sigh of relief if someone else got even less done.
This is not however the case when your day does not go as planned. When you really don’t do well and you cannot make yourself feel better about it. What happens when the to-do list is so long that you cannot complete it and it just keeps on growing. When you lay in bed and look back on your day such a list may make you feel sad and disheartened. But what if it didn’t have to be like this? This is all because of how you choose to measure life quality. This is the way I measured my day for a long time and it didn’t always work for me.
I write lists, and I love to write lists, but those to-do lists can get me down. I try to squash more, and more into each day and it gets harder and harder. I have had many times where I have felt run into the ground, unbalanced and stress out.
Most of us measure the quality of our daily lives and experiences by what we do and get done, how many of those little boxes we check off. We seldom determine the value of our lives by how we are, how we impact others and on the beingness of it all.
So what would happen if we did?
I told myself, what if I ignored the urge to check the to-do list before going to bed. What if I sat quietly before bed and reflected on how I was during the day, how I felt and how others felt around me. Would the quality of my day change? What if we all did this?
So that is exactly what I did. My life did change, my perspective of my life and the importance I gave to certain tasks changed. So, I recommend everyone has a try at this.
Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself at the end of the day:
Even if you have checked many of these things of there is always room for improvement. There is always room for recognising who you are, how you do things, the way you react, and how you influence others. No day is the same and life is always changing, so there is always something to reflect on. Ask again:
If the answer to any of these questions are yes then maybe it is time to start working on improving the quality of your day. If you are already aware of the things in your life that you want to improve or bad habits you want to change then begin with them. Being aware is the first step. Maybe you get road rage and this rage impacts on your work colleagues and you drag this bad mood around with you all day, dwelling on the car that cut you up and missing the day around you. The more you ask yourself these questions and begin to realize patterns in behaviour, thinking and habits, the closer you are to improving and changing these things.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, you are never alone and you are by no means the only one saying yes to all these questions. Many of us miss life because we are too busy on doing things, on getting the long list of tasks done and not pausing until the moment we get into bed. I know that everyone has a different timetable, we all have different lives and it may be hard to try and get away from the list, but life is unpredictable. Even those with the busiest days and the longest to-do lists are thrown off course and this can be devastating. So why not take yourself of the track and change the way you view the quality of your day today, from a list of doing into a list of being. This way when life gets hectic, when you are thrown off, you will be in a much better position to deal with this.
So, recognizing and being aware of what you need to improve is the first step. This awareness can come from reflecting on each day. We can begin to experience life and measure our day based on being, peace and joy.
So, what now? Start improving the quality of tomorrow and every day after.
Before you drift off to sleep tonight use today as an example. Be conscious about how you are living right now regardless of the things you get done or don't. Reflect, learn, and grow from the hours you experience today.
Next, try to prioritize the living component of life over the doing component for the next 24 hours. Finally write down your to be tomorrow, maybe glance over it in the morning and keep these things in mind.
This may look something like this:
Tomorrow I will be:
By all means don’t scrap your to-do list if you need one but why not have a to-be list as well. Why not try to change the way you measure your day by prioritizing your to-be list, gratification, and reflection. Quality of life is determined by who you are, not what you accomplish.
So, lets base the value of our days on that piece of wisdom and live accordingly. Just be. Settle down, have a good night sleep and reflect on this practice. You deserve to be the best you and feel great about every day.
After all we are human beings not human doings.
Let me know how you get on and how you all feel about this idea.
Namaste and always stay Zen 😊