Community//

Ask yourself this one question to make your to-do list a lot more fun

How breaking free from structure can reduce your stress and invite more joy into your life

Being organized, structured and disciplined is part of my DNA, perfectly fitting the stereotype that us Austrians need “order” to feel at peace. I’m a master of the to-do-list, never miss a deadline, and have processes in place that make my business a well-oiled machine.

Striving to run a successful company, I discovered Brendon Burchard, whose teachings have helped me be even more intentional about my time in the office and, because of his lessons I’ve seen amazing progress in my work. As the work week ends and the weekend begins, the list of ‘to-dos’ however doesn’t seem to stop, running errands, doing laundry, buying groceries, cooking for the week, tidying up the house, and, and, and. The lists help to not forget anything and plan your time for the day. But I’ve realized that while being productive, intentional, and very focused is so needed at work, I’m more than ever craving freedom from structure on my days off.

You can’t rip those lists apart as many to-dos can’t be ignored, but I’ve found a way to reframe how I view these tasks and immediate saw a positive change in my mood and a greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

I’ve included my heart 
in the decision-making process.

Instead of sorting my chores and checking them off in the order that makes most logical sense, I apply a different lens. At the start of the day, and after completing any given task, I ask myself “which of the various options on this menu would bring the most joy to my day. Instead of perceiving everything as a ‘must do’, each task becomes one of many choices that can enhance the next moments. In this assessment you not only include the things that are written on the list but you pause and listen to your intuition, giving you space to recognize if there are other possibilities that would make you even happier in that moment. Before you know it, you find yourself reading another chapter of the book you haven’t picked up in weeks, practicing your instrument, or running an errand that wasn’t even on the to-do list but now seems more energizing than the others.

But hold on, how do you get anything done you might ask. First let’s be honest and admit that the lists never end. Before you would check the last thing off, you’d add 3 new to-dos. It’s human nature to always strive for more, and while that’s crucial in our evolution, it can cripple your life. So yes, you may not get everything done that day BUT for one, I’ve realized that eventually most things get checked off, either a day later, a week later, or some things turn out not to be that important and therefor never get done. However more importantly you’ll find yourself looking back at the end of the day feeling accomplished, fulfilled and yes, happy!

Having a fully planned out day doesn’t allow for your intuition to be heard. You solely base your decision-making process on logic and your competitive drive to ‘achieve’, and don’t allow to be influenced by emotions and feelings. You may not think that feelings are that important but consider the moments you were the happiest – you may envision a memory of the past but it’s the feeling you associate with that moment that evokes happiness. You can choose to reserve your moments of happiness to Friday and Saturday evenings only, but I want more than that and following my heart more often than not is having a very meaningful impact on my happiness…try it out!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

5 Easy Ways Busy People Can Successfully Manage Their Calendar

by Janelle Bruland
Wisdom//

These 4 Lessons Are Key For Productivity

by Paula Rizzo
Jurgita Vaicikeviciene / EyeEm / Getty Images
Wisdom//

9 Ways to Get Back Into “Work Mode” After Time Off

by Marina Khidekel

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.