As soon as I get these 3 more things done, then I can take a break.
I’ll go for a walk once I’ve finished all the laundry.
I better skip lunch so I can finish this project.
It’s pretty common to feel like you have to earn rest, fun, joy, downtime. After all, busy has become nothing short of a status symbol. Listen to any conversation between 2 folks who are catching up, and one of the most frequent answers to the question of “How have you been?” is “I’m good, just so busy!”
We’ve become obsessed with our “to do” lists, showing how packed our schedules are and bragging about our busy-ness; all the while, the days are flying by.
Yes, getting things done is important.
Yes, it feels good to be successful and to accomplish things.
No, I’m not advocating for an unrealistic life of eternal leisure…but what I am advocating for is to look at why we have developed this obsession with our “to do” lists. What do we get from touting our busy-ness?
For most people it’s a sense of accomplishment, worth or validation. When you can rattle off a list of 27 things you’ve done in a day, you feel worthy, even if 26 of those things aren’t even important to you. The act of doing has become synonymous with our sense of self worth. <—Click to Tweet
Understanding that, and knowing that you’re not the only person who is conflating task completion with self worth, is a powerful place to start.
For this week, consider your own sense of worthiness. How intertwined is it with your “to do” list?
Now think about someone you love. What is it that you value about them?
Notice the difference? If you’re like most of us, we value things like kindness, generosity and compassion in those we love; yet we still demand a laundry list of accomplishments from ourselves to feel worth. Consider that dichotomy.
If you’re feeling particularly brave, try one of my favorite self-kindness practices and ask 1 or 2 of the people who you love what they value about you. I’m willing to bet their answer has nothing to do with your “to do” list.