There are times that we fill up all that we do with running ‘to do’ lists.

What do we believe we must do?

What tasks to complete?

What must I do next?

More, and more, and more

At some point we can look down and see that this ‘to do’ list never ends. It just keeps growing with no end in sight. To do lists are important as they help keep us on track on tasks to complete daily. They are a great reminder tool so nothing is forgotten as our memory can only hold so much.

Yet, can these same to do lists get in the way of us living our lives?

If you see that in your personal life, the life you live away from work, is being run by an ever growing to do list, it may be time to pause and reflect. Are you truly living and enjoying life if every aspect of it is a managed by a list?

Have you written down a lot of things you would like to personally accomplish (i.e. learn to swim, dance, take up different hobbies, etc.) yet don’t know when you will be able to squeeze all of those ideas into the 24 hours you have a day? Some of those hours you are sleeping, working, and possibly taking care of a family.

Living a life that brings you genuine peace and joy may seem like a mirage that you cannot achieve. I challenge you to think differently.

You can do all that you want to personally accomplish, just don’t make accomplishing those wishes and dreams into a to do list. View them as a season!

Yes, just as the world we live on revolves around seasons, we too do the same.

When viewing all that you want to do in your personal life as a season, you allow yourself grace to take your time. To enjoy the moment, however long or short it lasts. And then, as your season changes, you move to the next.

Maybe in one season you are learning to swim while also writing the novel you’ve dreamed of doing. Once you are ready to move beyond that, you can move to the next season and do whatever dream you thought of as it feels right and makes sense for you.

You are allowing your mind, body, and spirit to guide you rather than a piece of paper. You are allowing yourself a certain ebb and flow to life, so that when you are in that moment you are appreciating every splash it brings.

To do lists are important and necessary. Yet, they are not necessary as you are attempting to navigate how you want to create peace and joy in your life. That true peace and joy will come from within and you will know it when you feel it.

I challenge you to write out your ideas. It doesn’t have to be clean. You can draw lines connecting ideas, scratch through other thoughts, and scribble all around. That mess as it may appear is beautiful because it is you finding who you are. Now, allow yourself to flow in and out of seasons of partaking in what you want. It may take you months, or it may take you years. The amount of time doesn’t matter. All that matters is that in every season you are in that you are experiencing peace and joy.

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Dr. Chemika Burkhalter, LCSW, MCLC

Dr. B is a licensed clinical therapist and a master certified life coach with a client-centered emphasis and a love for helping people navigate their way to the “aha” moment.