My to-do lists used to be long, never-ending checklists of routine tasks: grocery shop, clean kitchen, schedule doctor appointments, arrange play dates . . . These chores would consume a significant portion of my day, leaving me wondering what I had actually accomplished. 

I’d feel conflicted, one minute experiencing deep satisfaction as I checked off items and the next, feeling frustrated and unfulfilled, knowing a new list awaited me the very next day. 

I spent a major portion of my day DOING, leaving limited time for BEING. 

Recently, I spoke to a good friend, who informed me that she was creating space in her life to slow down, to self-reflect, to be. “How are you pulling that one off?” I inquired. 

“By saying No to fundraisers, multiple volunteer positions, being with people I really don’t want to be with,” she offered, “Besides, I think it would be good for my kids to see that I take time for me.” 

She was onto something, actively building her Not-To-Do list. 

Not-To-Do lists are vitally important to our health and happiness because they establish boundaries, remind us to prioritize and take care of ourselves, and most importantly, keep us conscious about what really matters.   

Does it really matter that the laundry is properly folded, the house picked up, all the errands completed and our kids are scheduled from morning til night?

May I hear a resounding NO?! 

Another friend, who is a full-time working mom, every once in awhile throws out her weekend to-do list so she and her family can take a day trip, spend time outdoors together or hang out at home with no agenda. She’s discovering that what really matters is not overbooking herself and her children.

It’s true. What really matters is that we have time to talk to our kids, laugh, read, meet a friend or take a walk. What really matters is that we slow our lives down to the speed of life. 

This is called living life rather than doing life. Test it out by grabbing your smart-phone, a Post-It Note or a 3 x 5 card and create a different list . . .  

What’s your first NOT-To-Do?

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Melissa Ford

As a coach and blogger, it's my intention to support people to step into a bigger, more powerful version of themselves whether it's in their personal or professional life. LIfe is about living,...