I cant even believe that I am writing that sentence. I have loved my to do list since before I even wrote one. You see I grew up on to do lists. My mother is the queen of the list. She would write lists of chores for my brother and I, grocery lists, packing lists, project lists. They were always in pencil and most often written on the backs of copy paper recycled from her office.
My to do lists have evolved over the years. Now my grocery list is often on the back of an old piece of mail, and my list of movies to watch is in my phone. There are hundreds of ways to organize our minds and thoughts. A list of actions to take is hardly a foreign concept. In fact I often hear from people that they don't want to add anything to their to do list because it is already too long and feels unmanageable. I have to say I carry tasks over on my to do list for longer than I would like to admit.
A few months ago my business coach mentioned that she had lost her notebook with all her to do lists for her business in it. We started talking about it and I realized that without a to do list maybe I could start listening a bit more to what was happening internally.
So as an experiment I ignored my calendar for four days. I just left it on my desk unopened. My newsletter went on on time, my blog post went up on Wednesday, I finished a few projects on the house, I read for leisure, I made all the food we needed, I went grocery shopping, I went for a walk with my partner. Everything that needed to be done, got done. Maybe I didn't do ALL the things on my to do list that was sitting closed on m desk. But everything vital happened. The real magic was that the sense of overwhelm that creeps in while running your own practice, and living your own life was absent. Comparison was not running the show. By letting go of my own list of should I was giving room for my intuition to show up.
I love to do lists. I always will. I love the satisfaction of putting all my thoughts on paper. I find it helpful. I surprised myself when I was able to run without one. I enjoyed listening and trusting myself to get what needed to be done, done. Which makes me think that I may need to switch up how I use a list, and plan my work week. Can I keep going? Can I shift the way I tackle other projects, like my study of tarot? Or my movement practice? Can I approach them from a more intuitive mind? Can I trust what I know rather than seeking out information? What would happen if I let go of should in my brain even more? By now you know that I take all the mundane tasks of my life and ask what medicine does this hold for me? I am a self examiner.
So when my to do list gets cumbersome, or I feel dread when I open my calendar, I am going to ask myself what can I let go of? Do I need to read the list to know what I need to be focusing on? Most likely the answer is no. Most likely I know exactly what I need to do. And on the off chance that I am stuck if I sit for a minute, if I draw a tarot card, if I put on my boots and go for a walk around the block, priority will rise.
I will say that putting thoughts on paper is important. But recognizing the ebb and flow of our to do lists can be a great lesson in trusting our intuition. There are few absolutes in life and being able to let go of to do and trust what we know needs to be paid attention to is powerful.