Where are YOU on your To-Do List?
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photo by Justin See

Today’s post is from my friend, Melissa Miller Young. It’s from her blog, Zen Life Solutions, and I think it’s a great reminder about the importance of taking time to take care of you.

There are SO many things to do, and so little time. Work, friends and family, children, spouse, social priorities, family priorities, professional responsibilities. Go, go, go, go, and more than likely, you spend your days looking at your to-do list instead of listening to your heart. Day planners, iPhones, Blackberries and the ability to always be reached – through email, cell phones and ever changing forms of wireless connectivity make the opportunities to listen to yourself and discern your needs or wants, much less have the time to do anything about them, a thing of the past.

And listen to your own thoughts – what a concept! The other day I was sitting in line at the bank and all the sudden thought, “I’m bored” and was checking my email and Facebook accounts before my car moved another inch. I could have, oh I don’t know…looked out the window, maybe even at the sky? I could have thought about something that would make me happy, instead of making sure I didn’t have new appointments or oh-so important items or events to add to my to-do list.

But did I do that? No. I did what millions of other people do every single day, I checked out on ME and checked back in to my to-do list.

Now let me say this, I am a big fan of the to-do list. Heck, without a list I would forget more than I remember and can’t even begin to fathom how completely disorganized and ineffective I would be. I’m also a big fan of my iPhone, I love having access to my email/calendar/contacts, you name it. I can make appointments, network, book workshops, make contacts, and return emails from anywhere at any time. But the problem with the list, and the continual connectivity is that some days, I forget where the list ends, and where I begin.

When I forget where I fit it, I wake up, drink coffee, and plug in to the day’s events through my phone or laptop while I’m on my first cup, hit the shower and boom, off and running. Where am I in all of that? What happened to waking up, thinking about the day ahead, having a conversation with my husband, maybe writing in my journal, or taking a walk before I jump headfirst into my day?

It’s in those moments of me-time that dreams are born. That’s where I am able to check in and see what I want for ME. But if the first thing I pick up in the morning is an electronic to-do list, where do I fit in? Yes, I’m a great doer of many things, but what about the things that need to be done just for me? Scheduling a massage I can do, turning off the phone and going antiquing or to the bookstore – occasionally. Making myself a priority each and every day? Easier said than done.

Learning to put a priority on yourself is something that our society has long taught against – you could be called cold, selfish or even worse. But in all actuality, you have to make yourself a priority, because if you can’t be good to yourself, how on earth can you be good for anyone else? If you haven’t been able to sit in the sunshine and read a book just for fun in months, if you are stretched too thin meeting the needs and wants of everyone else around you, if you are stressed, or mentally exhausted, how will you be an enjoyable date? A supportive friend or partner? A loving and present parent?

While you may have great caring and compassion for those you love, do you ever make yourself a priority?

If you do, good for you! Keep up the good work! If you don’t, it’s never too late to start. What you need to do is learn to listen to and respect your own feelings, desires and needs. What are your passions? Hobbies? Ways that you recharge? How much time do you allow yourself in those areas? Acting in your own best interests, isn’t a selfish act – it’s just a way to ensure that you’re making the very best of your life, and guess what, that puts you in a position to help those around you make the very best of theirs.

A wise man once said to me, “there are 24 hours in each day, aren’t you worth at least one of them?” And as continually work to make myself a priority, I ask you to do the same. Pencil yourself in on your to-do list, trust me, it’s worth it.

Melissa Miller Young is a Master Certified Life Coach who works with clients from around the world as they move their lives in a positive, healthier directions. Melissa’s background, as well has her passion for sharing tips learned along the way, make her the perfect addition to Zen Life Solutions, LLC.

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