Monday morning and I’m out the gate as if I have to reach the finish line by tomorrow! While laundry is drying on the line in the sun, yoghurt incubating in a sunny window, the dishwasher cleaned out, the blemished apple harvest paired and simmering on the stove to become apple butter, I get to write an article for Sixty and Me.

As I am shifting from summer hiking season to fall harvest and writing touring, my list of things to do right now is so long I have to organize my time. Will we ever adopt a butterfly lifestyle, flitting from one attraction to another as we get older?

I have some ‘butterfly’ days, but it takes organization to get those and I’m in my 7th decade at this point! My tasks are self-inflicted, which brings me to the core reason of how To-Do lists emerge.

Things That Necessitate a To-Do List

Are you an engaged, enthusiastic person? Do you keep up with friends and family? Do you have hobbies and passions that make you feel alive? Do you care about your body and do what it takes to stay healthy?

Are you curious and exploring new places, taking up new activities to expand your horizon? Do you have a (smaller) home you keep looking good? Are you a responsible citizen, and do you contribute to local and national interests and developments?

Do you manage your finances and keep up with the bookkeeping? Are you thinking about the future generation, your grandchildren’s future, and want to leave a legacy?

If you say yes to half of the above questions, you will have a full life with a To-Do list.

To-Do lists are a sign of health, vitality and engagement. At Sixty and Me we aspire to avoid an inactive lifestyle, an incapable and closed mindset in later life. A To-Do list is a positive thing.

What I’ve Learned About To-Do Lists

To avoid feeling stressed by your To-Do list, consider what I’ve learned about these wonderful tools and take your ‘busy-ness’ with a grain of salt and a sprinkle of a smile. Remind yourself that the thing you think needs to get done is your choice and you can change your mind.

What To-Do lists have taught me:

  • To-Do lists are only as long as you make them: Remember that it all comes back to choices you’re making or have made.
  • Long To-Do lists add years to your life. New things on your list are a sign that you’re involved. You have life left in you.
  • You can ‘chunk’ To-Do lists into smaller ones. To avoid feeling overwhelmed by your to-dos, make seasonal lists, maintenance (yearly, weekly) lists and social lists. How often, how much? That depends on you.
  • There is always another day for the To-Do list. You have time! And if you feel like you don’t, it’s no good trying to do a rush job anyway!
  • House cleaning doesn’t belong on the To-Do list. I don’t mind house cleaning, but it belongs next to exercise and showering, it’s part of living life.
  • To-Do lists are a guidebook to your coming adventures. Planning for a trip or trips, a change in living circumstances, a new skill you want to learn creates To-Do lists. See it as creating space in your mind and your body for expansion and deeper living.

You don’t need to stop making To-Do lists to live ‘in the moment’. To-Do lists let you live in the moment as long as you use them as a tool, not a burden around your neck. They are simply a sign of vitality!

Do you enjoy having your To-Do list or do you feel burdened by it? Do you feel more comfortable writing down your To-Dos or do you try to keep them in your memory? Have you tried going digital with your To-Do lists? Please share your best practices of keeping events, appointments and other tasks.

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