How To Accomplish More With a Not-To-Do List
It’s all too easy to let time pass us by without feeling we had the slightest experience of living. Our remedy? We make to-do lists. Somewhere in the egoic part of our minds we have convinced ourselves that our lack of fulfilling experiences is due to not doing enough.
Could it be that this type of “go-go-go” thinking is what has landed us here in the first place? What if less truly is more? What if we create a not-to-do list? In my experience, less is certainly more, under a particularly important condition: focus.
What You Focus On Grows
What are you focused on right now as you read this? If you’re focused on the idea that you are gaining wisdom that will help enhance your life, then chances are you are having a pleasant experience. If you’re reading this and focused on your to-do list, and all the other urgent tasks you “should” be doing, chances are this moment in time is less pleasant for you. Where focus goes, energy flows and a list of “shoulds” is a recipe for urgency.
Importance Vs. Urgency
Many of us stay stuck in a state of urgency; our to-do lists are proof of this. We run around with the idea that we don’t have enough time in day. Really, what we’re experiencing is that we have focused our attention on too many unimportant tasks. In most cases, we make ourselves appear busy to put off doing the important.
It’s not to say that some things are not urgent; however most of us have never learned to differentiate between urgency and importance. Because of this, we’ve gotten really good at making unimportant things urgent; responding to emails, text messages, and social media 24/7 are perfect examples.
So how do we find more time? We decide what’s truly important and what’s unimportant. To do this consider the theory of relative time. According to Einstein, what we perceive as time isn’t actually as concrete as we think. Time doesn’t move in a linear fashion like our clocks lead us to believe. In actuality, time is more effectively experienced through our emotions.
Einstein explains his theory of relativity by comparing our perceived absence of time during a moment of extreme joy; like spending time with a beautiful person. Contrarily speaking, that time appears to last forever when we are hating what were doing, such as working an unfulfilling job.
This example alone gives insight into helping us refocus on the truly important things: love, laughter, happiness, and growth. Despite what we’ve learned to believe, focusing on the important makes us far more effective than tending to the urgency of the reactive mind.
Creating A Not-To-Do List
Activity without meaning is the drain to the life of joy. ~ Anthony Robbins (Tweet this)
1. What do you focus on that does not serve you?
If we really want more time we’re going to have to start cleaning out our lives of unimportant activities. We have to write down a not-to-do list for ourselves. We all have the same amount of “time” each day, the difference as we know now, is the amount of time we spend focused on what matters most. Take a moment to get really honest with yourself; what do you do, day-in and day-out, that are just distractions or escapes?
These are things you do just to change the way you feel immediately with no real purpose. Do you eat even when not hungry? Mindlessly browse the Internet? How about the people you spend your time with, are they nourishing your deepest core values?
Creating a not-to-do list doesn’t have to be perfect, and it also doesn’t mean you can’t have your selfish escapes. It can be therapeutic to get away and distract ourselves from reality, in small doses. Our mission here is to clear up most of these distractions to make room for the really important things we’ve not allowed ourselves to experience.
2. What do you do just to appear busy?
It seems we carry a collective sense of guilt that we should be hardworking and only enjoying ourselves occasionally. Though this is a whole other article itself, it’s important to bring awareness to this limiting mental construct.
What do you do just to be busy? Do you sit at the computer just because you want to appear that you are hard working? Are you obsessively cleaning the house just to stay busy? Or how about this one; are you searching for problems just to solve them so you have a sense of purpose?
Again, be honest with yourself. Chances are if you stopped doing these things they’d simply disappear. Remember, where focus goes, energy flows. If you’re looking for busy work, you’ll find it, even if it’s complete unimportant and un-fulfilling.
3. What is truly important to you?
So what is it you would really want to spend your time doing? What truly matters to you? Is it spending time with you family, nourishing your health, time in nature, music, dancing or writing that book you always dreamed of writing?
If you’re thinking these things don’t matter because they bring you no income, aren’t part of your career, or don’t bring you any significance then why do you keep thinking about them? You have missed the larger picture.
A quality life is much more expansive than we think. Life is not limited to a good-paying job and food on the table. If we don’t nourish ourselves holistically then we will feel empty somewhere in our hearts, and it’s completely unnecessary.
As we learned we have time to do what’s important, if we’re willing to focus on it. Don’t let the idea of perfection steal your joy and dreams. 1 hour a day is 7 hours a week and plenty of time to become a dancer, a writer and workout. The purpose isn’t to reach some goal of completion; the purpose of activity is enjoyment.
4. Why is this a must for you to focus on?
Hopefully by now you’re inspired to start living a life of true fulfillment. However, without a purpose for you to change, you may very well end up not following through. You came here to read this today for a reason; perhaps you were stressed and craving inspiration for change.
Now that you have a new focus, you’re going to need a compelling reason to change. When doing this exercise it’s important to create reasons from a place of fulfillment and excitement rather than a place of lack and scarcity.
If your only reason to change is that you don’t want to feel stressed anymore then you will only carry that stress with you into your new activity. Remember the power of focus! If you focus on stress, it will follow you into each moment, you’ll find a reason why pursuing your passions is stressful.
Instead, what positive and compelling reasons do you have to change? Will you feel nourished on a soul level? How will that sense of fulfillment spread into your relationships, your career and other parts of your life? Really get into state as you brainstorm, feeling the excitement in your body.
Our purpose here is to make our passions, and heartfelt desires a must—no longer a neglected lost-dream. When shoulds become musts, we follow through. Instead of continuing to burn ourselves out trying to make unimportant shoulds into musts, here we start refocusing on why our passions are so utterly important to our well-being and sense of accomplishment.
It is up to us to define how we live our lives, we are the writers of our own life stories, and the pioneers of our destiny. By creating a not-to-do list we are accomplishing tasks daily, there is no lack of accomplishment. However, to truly feel fulfilled requires us taking back our position at the driver’s seat of our experience and choosing to do what matters uniquely to us.