The Important List

“If you don’t know what’s important right now, then the most important thing right now is to figure out what’s important right now.” Greg McKeown in Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
When I ran across this quote recently, of course, I “shared” it, and, of course, I started crafting my list!

Here’s what I have so far!

It is important for me to …

  • do the right thing.
  • choose my kids.
  • set a goal and follow through until it is accomplished..
  • be honest.
  • talk less and listen more.
  • spend time outside where the air is fresh.
  • share what I have with others.
  • speak kindly.
  • exercise.
  • eat well.
  • drink enough water.
  • spend time with my husband.
  • use my talents for good.
  • help others.
  • write.
  • follow through with my word.
  • listen to my heart.
  • spend time cultivating a new relationship.
  • give people a chance.
  • listen to music that feeds my soul.
  • attend church on Sundays.
  • connect with others.
  • stretch.
  • be challenged to think in a new way.
  • take time to pray.
  • hug someone.
  • change something for the better (or just to keep things fresh).
  • have only what I need and nothing more.
  • create.

Too many days living outside my list, and I can feel a weight in my heart … I’m grouchy and irritable … on edge. I’m yearning for something that matters, something meaningful, something … ANYTHING!

This list is an important reminder to myself of how I should be focusing at least some of my time each day. These are the things that truly matter to me, yet too often, my days are wasted on the wrong things … mainly, making sure the house is spotless (it NEVER is, by the way). If I really think about it, as much as I hope to feel better once I have the table cleared, there is no real residual feelings of joy or satisfaction from this accomplishment. There is no real joy in having all of the laundry completed in one day … everything put away exactly where it belongs. I don’t feel better (or any great sense of excitement) when the toilets are clean … yet these are the kind of goals I set (and fail to accomplish) day after day.

It’s becoming clear to me that my focus (at times) is on all the wrong things. I know why I (we) do it though … all of the things on my important list (or at least a whole lot of them) are “MESSY” or complicated or full of uncontrollable variables or they are dependent on other humans (and their moods) or they require a whole lot of EFFORT and ENERGY … many of the things on my important list are freakin’ hard!

It’s easier to just waste an evening scrolling on my phone instead of intentionally spending time with my husband … it’s easier to tidy the basement than it is to do 30 minutes of exercise … it’s easier to pop a movie in for the kids than it is to sit and create something together. But I always feel like poop when I choose the easier (lazier) route … perhaps my important list could be re-titled to “Things that make me feel good list!” Or maybe it’s not even about feeling “good” or “excited” or “joy” … maybe it’s about peace … maybe it’s about feeling “well with my soul” (to steal a quote from my current favourite song “Even If” by MercyMe).

I challenge you to examine your list for the day … I know you have one … what’s on your list? Is any of it going to feed your soul? Bring you joy? Bring you peace? Would anything on your to do list today make it to your important list”?

Is it all “easy” stuff? Is it all superficial? Meaningless? Does any of it REALLY matter? Or is it the completely and totally messy, sweaty, challenging, but oh so glorious stuff that makes you feel alive?

Rip up the easy list (or get ‘r done as quickly as possible) and get crafting your own important list.

We need to be more intentional with how we spend our time. We need to say no sometimes. We need to let go of the things (and people) that deplete us. We need to purge the excess and focus on what’s truly important.

Be intentional with how you spend your days. Find the joy even in the mundane or the essential … can you accomplish something on your important list while preparing supper for your family? During your morning commute? While you tidy the bathroom?

Undoubtedly, there will be days that get away on us or that require a clean house (like a family birthday party) or an organized space or clean clothes to wear (most days), so, of course, we still need to tend to these things, but they need not be our ONLY focus day after day after day. Do them, but draw in what’s IMPORTANT to you too. Bring that list with you everywhere you go (the kitchen, the car, the “office”) … and because I have challenged you, I will do the same. Let’s do this!

Psst … to get going on your own important list, check out My Important List: Worksheet.

4 thoughts on “The Important List”

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