Tag Archives: mindfulness

To Do list… or not To Do List

Image result for to do list

I write.

I write because I want to write.

I write because it helps me.

To understand, to make sense, to solve, to support, to guide and to soothe.

I’m on holiday but I still brought my notepad and pen. Because the urge to write is always there. I can’t switch it off. In fact, the urge comes stronger and deeper and more intense when I am on holiday.

Because my brain is switching off… Not immediately… but little by little, moment by moment, day by day… and by switching off to the old, the mundane, the idle chitter-chatter and constant full on brain-pain and brain-fog… I can allow my poor, weary mind to breathe… to relax, stretch and sigh… and make a little space for… well, everything.

And when I do, the inspiration comes thick and fast. Everything has more meaning. More intensity. More depth. The colours are brighter and the food tastes sweeter and the air I breathe goes deeper. And I feel awake – alive – totally and utterly switched on… to life! To LIVING! And I feel the need to write more than ever. I need to let it all out.

So on this notebook page my words are pouring… letting it out, letting it go…

But then I stop and turn the page because a new and urgent thought (or two, or three) has just popped into my thoughts and I feel the burning need to write it (them) down…

My dominant hand, the one holding the pen, the one with the almighty power takes a crisp, clean page and begins to write, To Do List.

I instantly hate myself.

Why am I doing this?

I attempt to appease myself and next to No.1 on the hot-list write: Chill. Chill. And CHILL!!!

Okay. That’s better, I think…

I follow No.2 with: Forget ‘Must’s’ and ‘To Do’s’ and ‘List’s’… and just ‘BE’.

Be present.

Be in the moment.

Let each moment unfold as it needs to and as it will.

Don’t interfere.

Don’t force or try or pre-empt. Just simply be there. Be there so much that each and every part of everyday fills you up, so you are totally of that experience at any given time.

Not thinking about what happened yesterday or what might happen later.

Just completely… right there.

I want to walk the same path along the ocean and stand and stare in wonder at its beauty, each and every time like I did the first time.

I don’t want to get used to it… to take it for granted… or be too busy thinking about what’s next on the list to notice.


How do I get rid of this nagging in my brain? This overwhelm of so many thoughts and ideas and plans… that literally make me feel like my little mind computer simply has no more space to store?

I write.

I write To Do Lists.

But I don’t want my trusty To Do Lists to interfere and complicate the beauty and simplicity of just DOing and BEing while I’m on holiday; whilst I’m wanting to be as present and as in the moment as I can possibly be… without some uptight To-Do list hanging over me, tapping me on the shoulder every few minutes and saying, “Ahem, isn’t there something else you should be doing right now?”

I want to lay and read for as long as I want to read. I want to eat when I feel a niggle of hunger. I want to nap whenever my eyelids feel heavy and nap for as long as my body decides it needs before I rouse gently and easily to the sound of distant laughter and not the abrupt noise of my alarm clock.

I want to do all these things at precisely the time I feel like doing them and not because I have dinner reservations or something else dictated and outlined on a list.

But there is merit in having a plan… oh I dunno, little things like getting more done for example. (But is ‘getting / having / doing / being’ more, less about what holidays are about… and more about what real life is about anyway? And thus the whole point of going on holiday; to get away from that for a couple of weeks?)

And is planning really just a clever façade to avoid risk-taking?

Planning is essentially a control mechanism – a means by which we can feel we assert some sort of power over our lives and how they pan out. And control comes from fear. If we are so used to, in our normal day to day lives, planning and have this feeling of control, then of course it’s going to be so much harder to shake this off and let it go completely; the ‘what if’s’ and the potential for things to go wrong feels almost too big to bear. It also likely comes in part from that lovely acronym FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).

So how do we create balance?

Is there value in wasting time wisely?

A lack of a plan or outline can create stress; uncertainty; can feel like wasting time. Or on the other hand being so anally retentive and obsessing over plans and timings, that there’s no room for manoeuvre and then that creates stress.

So balance – a bit of structure so that the part of your ‘safe’ zone brain feels secure; enough plans to have rough outline but loose enough that you can go with the flow of life… as life changes and as you do, i.e. weather, mood, circumstance, health etc…

And key things – the main things you want to do are prioritised but remain open as to how or when you do them. Or, if there are key things that can only be attended to on set days or times, start with that as a basis and let all else unfold around it.

The result being that we feel secure by having a bit of a plan for the key areas but relaxed enough that we can let all else unfold naturally around it. Balance.

As John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when we’re busy making plans” …so put your paper and pen down every once in a while (and your smart phones too for that matter but that’s another story)… be exactly where you are and savour every delicious, unplanned moment.