Creating A “To-Be” List
Life is full of things “to-do”.
Prioritizing and organizing tasks are things that most productive people work on each day. These are necessary skill-sets that must be developed if you want to make any kind of significant impact in our world. Nevertheless, like anything else that may be useful for good, there is a flip side that may be damaging to a person’s life.
A life that is primarily driven by things “to-do” will often find itself drifting away from what it originally intended “to-be”. I think this is why so many people find themselves stuck in professions in which they really don’t sense any level of fulfillment. Life for many has turned into an exhausting treadmill of taking and giving orders on “urgent” tasks. A person’s identity has turned into something that a person does rather than who they are. Unfortunately, far too many settle for this and ultimately life out a life that robs them of their purpose.
Who has time to think and dream, right? Why not?
Although there are no quick fixes to an unhealthy fixation with things “to-do”, I think there are some baby steps one could take to inject the kinds of things that bring us deeper joy and a more focused sense of meaning. I think this has a lot to do with being aware of who we want “to-be”.
I’m not talking about what profession or vocation to choose next. Rather, I’m talking about integrating clear values in our lives that reminds of us what matters most and gives us a sense of fulfilled living. What do you want “to-be” now that you’re all grown up?
I started something a few years ago that has helped keep me focused (i.e., most of the time) on things that matter to me more than what I do. I call it a “to-be” list. It’s a simple way of reminding myself what ultimately matters in my life. Here’s what it looks like:
- Each week, I identify 1-3 values that I want to embody in my life.
- I then take time to write it out or type it into my computer as a visual reminder. For example, for this week, I want to focus on my values of generosity and friendship.
- I take a few minutes at the beginning of each week to reflect on why these things matter to me. I sometimes jot down corresponding thoughts to help me think more intentionally about these things.
- I then look for opportunities to live out my values throughout the week. It’s amazing what you’re able to find and do when you know why you’re doing them. My commitment to being something creates on outflow of doing something about it rather than the other way around.
As my tasks and responsibilities increase in life, I find it more necessary to guard my heart and the things that matter most. Creating a simple “to-be” list each week has helped me to stay on track and discern what I really need “to-do”. Yes, this one thing “to-do” (i.e., create a “to-be” list) makes sense of all the others I do.
I hope you would consider taking some time “to-be”. It’s far more meaningful to live as a human “be”-ing than a human doing.