I have a favor to ask of you.

Please pause for a few moments and look at or mentally run through your to-do list. Consider each item thoughtfully and then come back. I’ll wait for you.

Okay. Thank you. Here’s what I want to ask you: Does your to-do list today reflect the life you are trying to create? What’s on that list that is helping you make strides towards what you want or want to become? How many items on that list, once complete, move you forward?

Maybe those questions are a little hard to think about, so let’s try it this way. Is your list full of routine everyday tasks and errands? The kind that you could do in your sleep? Is it populated with other people’s tasks? Is it the same every week? Those should be easier to answer.

Why are these questions important?

I think they’re important because (when genuinely answered) they give you a honest view of where you currently are.

If everything on your list is routine and mundane then you may be stuck in what we like to refer to as ‘everyday life’. There is so much to be done (and you believe it all has to be done by you) that there is no time for anything new, novel, inspiring, goal-reaching. At the end of the day or week when you’ve checked every box or crossed off every task, how do you feel? Do you feel tired but accomplished? Drained? Somewhat excited? Deflated that you’ll be doing it all again tomorrow or next week?

Sure, there are things that we need to do repeatedly. In fact, when building or creating something repetition is key to mastery, but are your repeating tasks producing anything?

If your list is full of other people’s tasks, it’s time for another pause. This time the pause is so you can ask yourself, “Why?” If you’re a personal assistant by profession, then okay, that may be a part of the job – but that’s the job list, where’s your list? If that’s not your job, what are you doing for you? For your future? Why are you missing from your own list?

Maybe you don’t fall into either of the above categories. Maybe your list isn’t routine or all about others, but does it contain anything geared towards your development? Towards achieving your dreams?

If you already have the life you want, then kudos to you. If you’re still dreaming about it or working towards it, put it in your schedule in ink.

You won’t achieve what you don’t work for, and you can’t work without making time. It’s time to sit down and revisit that list. Modify it or throw it out and start fresh if you have to. Yes, your needs and wants are important too.

Build time into your day or week just for you and your future self. Everyone around you will benefit when you do.

How’s your to-do list looking? Let’s talk in the comments.

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See you next week.