How to Get Back on Your Own To-Do List


Is it just me, or is life just simply too darn busy! If you are like a lot of folks, our to-do list keeps growing. And we are not putting ourselves on it!

There are lots of reasons why this is happening. Some are universal, like technology and globalization. Others are individual. They depend on where we are in our life and what transitions we are experiencing. For example: Just graduated school looking or starting a new job, making a home, trying to create a family, trying to adapt to having a family, building your career, balancing career with family (children or aging parents?), winding down your own career, re-evaluating what is next, coming to terms with aging, dealing with loss etc. And that is just the short list!

So, we can all agree that life continues to flow along it’s natural storyline. Hopefully, we leave each chapter a little wiser. And each new chapter continues to pose it’s own new challenges and opportunities. As humans, we want to gain or maintain a sense of control and mastery. With the immediacy created by external and internal influences in our lives, this is getting harder to do. And that creates problems.


Okay, this is what most of us are aware of and know all too well.

But now what?


The busier we get in our day-to-day life with work, family or other obligations, the less time we tend to dedicate to ourselves. This statement is likely not a news flash either! Within the past 20 years of my career, this has been a common underlying theme, regardless of the folks I have worked with. Guess what? We all struggle with this. You are NOT the only one. Don’t beat yourself up if this describes you too. You are in good company.


If you are like many of my coaching clients, you struggle with taking care of yourself, but you also don’t want to give up trying



Are you ready to break the cycle? You have nothing to loose. It’s not as difficult as you believe. Honestly.


Got 10 minutes? Let’s do it together and start right NOW. All you need to do is follow these three steps:

1) Make a list of what you want to do for yourself. What do you want and what do you need? Make a personal “to-do for you” list. Start by brainstorming this wish list by writing down everything and anything you can think of. And start doing this today. Keep it simple at first. Feel free to get more elaborate later. You can also make it as comprehensive as you like, building on it as more ideas come to mind.

Not sure what to put on that list? Here some easy examples to start you off:

  • Go for a 20 minute walk after dinner 3 times per week
  • Spend a couple of hours each weekend pursuing your favorite hobby (add what that is)
  • Schedule regular self-care appointments such as a massage, pedicure etc.
  • Meet up with someone in your social circle for a beverage or meal
  • Play your favorite sport at least once per week
  • Take 10 minutes to mediate each day
  • Read 20 minutes before bed

Then add things which are outside of “your normal” range, including things you have always wanted to do, but never really articulated before. For example, join a local learn-to-run clinic and then register for a race. Or start horseback riding again. Or finally re-build that car, motorcycle, boat, doll-house, or spend time on another craft.

Approach this from a place of natural curiosity. The moment you find yourself falling into a place of judgment (Hint: It can sound something like this: “That’s not realistic” or “You’ll never be able to do that” or “You don’t deserve to do that” or “What will so-and-so say about that?”), re-focus on the task at hand. The goal is for you to make that list full of what YOU REALLY WANT to do for yourself.   Don’t let yourself play small here. Remember, this is YOUR list. You don’t have to show it to anyone. Make it a true reflection of you.

Once you are satisfied with your list, pick a handful of things you really want to start doing. Write these down on a sheet of paper and put it where you can see it everyday (like on your fridge, on the console of your car or bathroom mirror). Make sure you read your list daily and let your mind start looking for space in your day. Which leads us to the next step…


2) Make space for YOU by setting boundaries. Declare what or who you need to say “No” to, so that you can make room for items you chose from your list above. Without eliminating something from your current schedule, you simply can not invite something else in. Make a point of prioritizing yourself – for a change.


3) Start making it happen. How about today? Seriously. Even if it is just a small step towards your ideal activity, taking a first step gets the ball rolling. For example, start by walking for 5 minutes each night. Likely, once you are outside, you’ll really enjoy it and that’s half the battle won. Start the habit now and build on it in the weeks ahead. Avoid getting frustrated with yourself if you are not as successful as you’d like to be at the onset. The fact that you are starting to think about making time for yourself is already a big win.



Because “taking care of you” is usually not part of your top 10 list, be patient with yourself as you tackle changing this. And do not give up. You are worth it. Your sanity is worth it. The quality of your life is worth it.

If you think you could benefit from some one-on-one support around this topic, please contact me HERE. I am happy to help.




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