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Should You Throw Out Your “To-Do” List After 60? Or, Just Rework It a Bit?

By Dami Roelse September 29, 2023 Lifestyle

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!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

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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I use the Todoist app. I put literally EVERYTHING I ever have to do on there. The beauty of having it all on an app on my phone is that as I add an item, I can schedule it for whenever makes sense. If I come to an item that I decide is not for now/today, it’s just a couple of taps to reschedule it for tomorrow/next Thursday/whatever makes the most sense. When I add an item that will need to recur, I just type “every day”, “every Thur”, “every 3 weeks”, whatever, and it automatically appears when needed. So many great ways to use it. I used the free version for a couple of months then opted for the paid version when I wanted to expand for more uses. But for the basic to do list, the free version is more than adequate.

Judith Louise

Rising with the first beam of sunlight. Quickly put together my bread recipe and place it in the bread machine (efficient and no supervising). Turn on the washing machine that I had filled the night before. Feed the cats. Then for an hour, snuggle back into bed and think of how the day will unfold determine my pain ratio and my ability to stand and walk. I rise and hand the washing in the sun on the clothes line that is attached to the patio for convenience. I have my breakfast. The wander outside for the big adventure of the moving. Feeding the chickens and ducks. Collecting the eggs. Picking ripe fruit and vegetables. In between time resting on the several chairs that I have placed in position for this seven day ritual. Using a hose I hand water plants and gardens that are in need of a drink. The homegrown food and herbs that I bring into the kitchen inspires meal preparations over the next one to two weeks. Freshly homegrown veggies have a long shelf life when stored in a Fridge. Following the morning ritual I need to sit for one to two hours, so I do my emails and I google research. I have a rare spinal disease that inhibits walking. My “To Do” has to have some flexibility but real purpose e,g, animals and food harvest . Otherwise I could easily become a couch potato. To me – home grown food is healthier.The daily ritual demands exercise through movement. Together it keeps the weight off.


I over 80 now and I have really slowed down. I am in pain all the time and I feel my todo list is basicaly look for ways to feel better. Anyone else in the same age span?


I usually have a Master List in a notebook for long term items. Then in my phone “notes app” I put my daily list, deleting each thing off as I complete it.

The Author

Dami Roelse encourages her clients to live life with engagement. She blogs and coaches women 50+ to walk, hike and backpack. Her second book, Walking Gone Wild: How to Lose your Age on the Trail, was published in May 2018. You can find out more about Dami at Transformation Travel

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