An Alternative To do List

Monday 14 November 2016

Hello everyone! And Happy Monday! How has your week begun?

Like most of you I sat down this morning to make my to-do lists for the week. Yup you read that correctly. Plural. To do listsssssss. This probably isn't that shocking to you. Like me you probably have a blog to do list, a personal to do list, a work to do list, and at this time of year, a Christmas to do list. List like goals are a wonderful thing. They help you feel organised, get a sense of where you're heading and the feeling of ticking something off, really is quite something isn't it? But like I've said about goals, lists, are also sometimes overwhelming.

There is always something we can find to do to fill our time with. Something or somewhere else we should probably be, that isn't watching Netflix sat on our couch. Todo lists have become their own kind of religion with people following them devoutly with out questioning.

I am definitely a member of that congregation and I won't be giving up my to do list any time soon. Most of the time my to-do list helps combat my day and my anxiety. It helps me feel focused, and with this months word being 'intentional' my daily to do list is an answer to my prayers. But this morning as I sat down to look at my week, I realised that something from my to do list was missing.


I wasn't looking forward to tackling a single thing on my to do list. Yes I was looking forward to completing it. But the individual tasks themselves? Not one of them gave me a sultry glance and said 'Hey, you know you want to do me first.'

I organise my notebook a bit like a bullet journal. I have a weekly to do list (divided into personal and work columns) which I consult every day, before making up my daily to do list. I also have a weekly goals page, which is a list of things I aim to do every day, or three times week etc. This goals list is usually made up of things that I know are good for me. Things like get 10,000 steps a day in or comment on 5 blog posts. They are things that have a purpose, an aim. But that aim is so rarely happiness.

So this week as I sat down to make my goals page I decided to do things a little differently, and instead of put things on there that were there, simply to be dutifully ticked off, my list was made up of things that had the sole aim, of making me happy.

Here's what my alternative to-do list looks like this week:
Call a loved one ~ Read ~ Learn
Journal ~ Take photos
Write ~ Dance
Create ~Spend time out doors

These things are the type of thing that when I sit down with my Happiness Planner at the end of the day are the things I reflect on, but they are never the things I plan on. I don't dutifully put 'happiness' on my to-do list every day. It's so often something that is a by product of my day. Sure most days, it happens, but not because I intended it to, because I guess, I'm pretty lucky. And being lucky is all well and good, but I don't know about you, but to me, my happiness is a little too important to leave up to luck.

I want to take responsibility for my own happiness. I want every day to have at least 5 minutes carved out of it that were intended simply to make my day that little bit better. Sure those 5 minutes might also lead to me having been productive, or achieving something else, but if all they leave me with is a slightly brighter smile, then they'll have served their purpose.

I specifically made my happiness to do list a little vague. I didn't want to over think it or dictate how it should play out. Writing makes me happy, it might also mean I publish a blog post, or get a little closer to finally making another show, but it might also just be a silly little story, that isn't any good, and is never seen by another soul. Learning somethingmight make me better at my job, or at speaking a language, or it might just be an article that took my interest and enlightened me on something I didn't know before.

Happiness and productivity don't have to be separate, but if one is the by product of another, I'd rather my productivity came out of my happiness than the other way around. Not every day is going to be a good day by chance, and not every task on your to do list is going to be something you want or enjoy doing, but you are in charge of what goes on that list and of what you prioritise. I'm not saying slack off work entirely but maybe instead of hitting reply to "just one more email" you leave work on time today, or you get in bed 5 minutes earlier with a notebook instead of your phone.

Or if those things REALLY make you happy, then do those instead. I'm not here to dictate your to-do list or what makes you happy. You are.

This week, don't leave your happiness up to chance x

 ps. My word of the month for November is 'Intentional' find out why here.
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