Look, if you have a problem with to-do lists, or think they’re a waste of time, that’s great, because that’s not the to-do lists we’re talking about. Most people are convinced, since they can easily set important appointments and the out-of-the-routine errand in their phone, that a traditional to-do list is unnecessary. That’s fine if you believe keeping appointments and remembering errands are the sole purpose of a daily to-do list. But they are not.
The point of your to-do list is to set an intention for the day so you can enjoy the journey. When you begin to use your to-do list with this in mind you’ll be amazed at how your circumstances start conspiring in your favor. Setting your intention at the beginning of the day makes you feel enthusiastic about what you are doing and where you’re headed.
When you feel good about what you're doing and where you're headed, you attract MORE opportunities that make you feel good about what you're doing and where you're headed. It's the law of attraction. What a welcome relief from the belief that in order to succeed I must suffer and struggle. The reality is, if you have to fight to get it, you're going to have to fight to keep it.
Hard work doesn’t yield sustainable results; enthusiasm does. I used to believe that a to-do list was to be used to whip myself into fulfilling obligations in order to be a success. I thought I was goal setting but I was only setting myself up for frustration.
“Hard work is not the path to Well-Being. Feeling good is the path to Well-Being. You don't create through action; you create through vibration. And then, your vibration calls action from you.” –Abraham-Hicks
Thirty years ago I was introduced to the idea of using my to-do list to feel good and I have been enjoying the daily benefits ever since. Here’s how I do it: After I’ve enjoyed my morning coffee and inspirational readings I make my handwritten to-do list in my pocket sketchbook.
I usually begin by jotting down a quote or affirmation as my intention for the day – something that appealed to me from the morning readings or something I’ve made up for myself. Here’s one I like from Catherine Ponder, “Divine love, expressing through me, now draws to me all that is needed to make me happy and my life complete.”
Any intention that focuses on being a "bless-er" makes me feel best because it gives me a spiritual theme as my overall marching orders. Then I jot down my best idea of what I think God’s will is for me for that day. This includes appointments, chores, and errands. I also learned to include the little everyday stuff that seems too insignificant to list, like make the bed, floss, walk dogs, and dishes.
Crossing items off your to-do list feels great. Whether you're conscious of it or not, every time you cross an item off your list, even a routine task, you're giving yourself praise. It's the equivalent of giving yourself a pat on the back. Most of us berate ourselves for not doing enough. If this happens to you during your day, you can always pull out your to-do list and start jotting down accomplishments you’ve completed that were not previously included on your list and cross them off. My close friends and I do this and it never fails to reignite our enthusiasm. This also helps us remain optimistic and flexible when some of the things on our list aren’t accomplished. Those are the days I end up with what I call "Bonus Miles!" This is when unexpected things came up that needed my attention in addition to or at the expense of what I had planned.
When I believe that a certain thing must be accomplished and it isn’t, a remarkably positive reason for the delay always presents itself. Having a to-do list gives me tangible proof that all things come together for the highest good and that nothing happens in God’s world by mistake.
"I thank God for this day. Miracle shall follow miracle and wonders will never cease. All that needs to be done by me today is done with effortlessness and ease." This is my go-to to-do list affirmation and I use it often.
My daily to-do list has had the uncanny power of curing me from being a perpetual victim. Whenever unexpected delays, accidents, or obstacles arose I was devastated. My mantra was, “Figures, nothing ever works out in my favor. I knew this was too good to be true.” Now when these same things occur I tend to be optimistic and think to myself, “I wonder what good thing is going to come from this unexpected appointment.”
In short, if you want to start feeling great about yourself and where you’re headed, make a daily to-do list so you can go praise-y! A to-do list is the key to appreciating yourself on a daily basis – and that’s the secret to success.
At the age of 93, Unity co-founder Charles Fillmore expressed his enthusiasm by saying: “I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me!”
Here's an example of how my a to-do list looks at the end of the day.
On the left, you can see some of my "Bonus Miles!" I jotted down and crossed off from the previous day. I use the alphabet instead of numbering the items on my list. I do this because letters don't feel like any one has a higher value over another. This keeps everything I intend to do on an even playing field, knowing I'll accomplish more without stress. I use highlighters to cross off items because they're colorful and I can still see and read what I've accomplished. There is no rhyme or reason to my use of different colors. I just like using different colors; it's fun and I enjoy the way it looks. I also cross off the items that weren't accomplished. This I do by making a symbol that combines the letter "T" in a circle. The "T" represents I'm going to "Turn it over to Divine Order" and that I may, or may not, carry it over for entry on "Tomorrow's to-do list." This practice puts me to bed at the end of the day feeling satisfied that I've accomplished all that was expected of me.
Darrell Fusaro is the author of What If Godzilla Just Wanted a Hug? and co-host of the Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed podcast