Slow Down Challenge – Day 4

When I committed to this challenge, the one thing I was concerned about was the amount of time it might take. I have been pleasantly surprised that the investment in this challenge has been more of an investment in thinking and perspective than an investment in time.

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The biggest benefit of working through this challenge is that something became very clear to me. Sometimes I let myself be defined by my to-do list. There is a sense of self-worth that comes with having a large, packed to-do list. And there is an immense sense of self-accomplishment that comes with checking a ton of things off the list.

One of our readers commented on yesterday’s post, “It’s hard to slow down when we are judged on our “efficiency” and “productivity”.

We have to remember that living a great life is not about checking items off of a to-do list. Living a great life is not about accomplishing more than everyone else. There is so much more to life than a to-do list.

Today’s challenge was to let go.

Here’s what Jeff said to set up the challenge,

When we try to control everything, when we plan every last minute of the day, we get mad at life for throwing a wrench in our plans.

When the hot water heater breaks. When your kid gets the flu. When your boss has a “favor” to ask. But what if we expected these interruptions? What if we counted on them, deciding ahead of time how to act in these instances?

That got me to thinking about even more questions:

  • How would my life change if I made relationships more important than my to-do list?
  • What if my to-do list was full of items that had a positive effect on other people?
  • What if I committed to making life more about others and less about me?

I think Jeff summed up the answers to those questions pretty well,

We don’t become who we’re supposed to be by checking off one more thing on the to-do list.

The path to legacy comes to those who help others, who make time for interruptions. Those are the people we remember.

I’m glad I read this challenge when I did. My parents had come into town to see our daughter’s performance that I talked about in Day 2, and for a quick get-away with some friends. I read this challenge the morning of the day they were heading home.

As usual, I had a packed to-do list. But right after I read this challenge, my mom called and asked if we wanted to meet for coffee before they head out of town. After, reading this challenge, how could I say no?

Taryn and I ended up meeting them for coffee, and I have to say that even though there was part of me that was trying to just check the visit off of my list, it was a nice visit. I got to talk with my parents which doesn’t happen as much as it should. And I got to talk with their friends too.

Even for someone who is not a “people person” it was nice to just sit and talk. To sit and take in life a little bit. It was nice to be directed by what life gave me instead of what was on my list.

It was nice, for a few minutes, to just let go.


Question: Are you motivated, validated, and driven by your to-do list? If you could pick one other area of life to make more important, what would it be?

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