Does your to-do list keep getting longer while your values list is left in the dust? If you feel like you’re in a never ending battle to get to the end of your to do list so you can get to the things that really matter to you, consider this refreshing perspective.
All of us know what a to-do list is, but do you have a list of values?
If you don’t, please allow me the pleasure of relating a key life lesson I learned after my father passed away that helped me understand the importance of a values list.
It was a gift he left without even knowing how profound the message would be for me.
It was his unfinished to-do list.
You may be wondering how in the world a deceased person’s to-do list could offer a life-changing message.
The key is in the fact that it was unfinished.
There were items that were not crossed off.
In fact, those items will never be crossed off (at least not by my father).
It struck me so deeply when I discovered those dangling to-do items on his list that day that one day, my to-do list will be left unfinished as well.
And so will yours.
I don’t say this to be depressing.
I say it as a reminder of how much more important another list is.
It’s your values list.
If you don’t have one, I encourage you to start one, even if it’s just in your mind.
Because, what’s more important — organizing your garage (or email inbox), or spending quality time with your loved ones?
Which of these items would you rather be left undone if you leave this world tomorrow?
Being cognizant of the fact that your to-do list will NEVER be finished is a great reminder to do the things that are most important to you NOW.
In fact, your to-do list and your values list should not be mutually exclusive!
It’s not just okay to add things like taking a walk in the park, going to visit a dear friend, or enjoying a playdate with your kids to your to-do list. It’s recommended!
In fact, when you make it a priority to cross off an item or two on your values list every day, you acknowledge that those things are just as important (or moreso than) the tasks you may feel pressure to get done at work or around the house.
And you build a life that actively honors the things that really matter to you… every day.
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