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« Gratitude 101: What's on Your List? | Even the Best Laid Plans... »
Tuesday
Nov082011

To Do or Not To Do?

One never knows where inspiration will come from.  A friend recently told me an inspiring story, which I’ll share with you. It fits with the “Wonderfully Human” theme I’m writing about this month and also corresponds with chapter 11 in my book, The Other Side of Organized. We are not perfect beings, but human beings. Life isn’t just about organizing and getting things done, but also about living and enjoying our lives. It’s about stopping to appreciate those lovely moments that happen each day.

This is the story. My friend was working at her desk one weekend afternoon. She was debating whether to continue working or to go out and play. All of the sudden a card from the shelf above her desk fell on her head. The quote on the front said, “Often we fool ourselves into believing that we will get done what needs to be done, and then we will live our life.” She got up and as she said, “left to live my life!” At that moment her priorities became crystal clear. Work could wait. She knew it was more important to nourish another part of her being.

I’m not saying that we totally abandon our lists and commitments. I’m merely suggesting that we don’t get too caught up in the belief that we can’t enjoy or relax or have fun until we get everything completed. Our lists will never be done because new things will appear, just as quickly as items are crossed off. It’s a matter of balance. Make time every day for rejuvenation, relaxation and fun. It’s not frivolous. It’s essential.

We can be renewed and have fun in many ways. Stepping outside for a few minutes to breath in the fresh air and enjoy the gorgeous fall colors could be enough. Sipping a leisurely cup of coffee while having a face-to-face chat with a favorite friend might do it.  Allowing your “silly side” to appear in public is a sure way to have fun.

What’s does “living your life,” mean to you? 

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Reader Comments (11)

There are renewing powers of being in the sun by the water. I spent a few hours today working at the river. Sounds of seagulls chirping, occasional motors running, and train whistles blowing are the music that accompanies this restorative place. Before me are the ever-changing ripples of the water. The fall sun is particularly warm, reassuring and calm.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Wow!! This is the Shakespeare's poem line "To do or not To do, That is the Question" Really a good poem.

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSharelord Advanced

Yes. I was having fun with the line from Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, "To be or not to be: that is the question..." Thank you for stopping by to share your comment.

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Sometimes you do just have to put the list aside and seize the moment. That's especially true for me in October, when it's that perfect sweet spot between the hot summer and cold winter.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet- I love lists so much...but there are times when setting those "to dos" for another time really is the best way to go. I found that over the Thanksgiving holiday there were many things that were postponed so that I could enjoy spending time with friends and family. All the "tasks" truly were worth the wait. I was able to soak up al the extra love, hugs and precious time with my loved ones.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I definitely struggle with this one. I like to get it "all" done and then relax, but as you point out, this isn't really possible. The way I try to manage this is by being quite intentional about my daily to do list. If I complete the list, terrific. If there are items I realistically won't complete, I reschedule them. This way, at the end of the day, I can see a list that has been dealt with, even if it hasn't been fully completed. Great story!

December 22, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- I know what you mean. I have an Anna Quindlen quote that I keep on my desk as a constant reminder. It says, "I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less." Since like you, I love my lists, I need to remind myself that it's not always about crossing things off. It's a balance between doing the important tasks and also enjoying our time too. It sounds like you and I have a similar approach to our list management. I check mine throughout the day and readjust as needed, so that by the end of the day, all items are either completed or moved to a more realistic time frame for handling.

December 22, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I usually am a "work first-play later" kind of person! However, a few weeks ago, I looked out my window and saw the most beautiful big snow flakes gently falling down. It didn't take long for me to leave my office and take a walk. It was delightful! And I am glad to report that I was the first person to walk on most of the snow-covered sidewalks!! It was the best thing I did all day--and it wasn't even on my list!! Be ready to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. Thanks for sharing this on P.O.B.C.

December 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterOlive Wagar

@Olive- What a wonderful story! I love how you abandoned your list so that you could enjoy the beautiful snow. It's so easy to get completely focused on crossing things off our lists that we can easily NOT NOTICE those moments of potential joy. Not to say that we ALWAYS be swayed, but there are those times when following the serendipitous moments ARE the way to go...as evident by your story. Lovely.

December 23, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

"Our lists will never be done because new things will appear, just as quickly as items are crossed off. It’s a matter of balance. "

Like laundry, email, papers.....I'll often ask "What does 'caught up' mean, specifically?" How would things be? Research shows that this imagination and discussion is a motivator, setting off dopamine levels and positivity in our brain.

Thanks for the reminders!

December 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSue West

@Sue- That's so interesting that by asking the question, "What does 'caught up' mean, specifically?" it creates a dopamine and positivity surge by motivating creativity and thought around the question. I find it fascinating that just the act of thinking can do that. Pretty powerful.

December 28, 2016 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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