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Living with the “to do list”



Shoot… I was going to meditate first before I started this article. I’m sticking to my original plan.

Okay, that was scary helpful. I’m not sure if I just need meditation so desperately or if all the research on how it impacts the mind is actually true. Hum, could proven research really be true? Its so hard to implement things that are not concrete and visible isn’t it? Seems so much easier when I can just grab it and swallow it like a pill.

Yet it works on me like nothing I’ve ever experienced. When all else fails, pray and meditate. That’s the quick story on how I finally decided to give it a try.


Where was I, oh yes the list, the TO Do LIST!!!! It’s kinda addictive, the more I cross off the more adrenalin I feel. Yet, just like any addiction it cannot be satiated because it never goes away. I work hard and cross one off, feel good for a second, before I add two more things for the one I crossed off.  Then I feel exhausted and like I’m failing because even if I don’t write it down it’s in my head swimming around saying, “better write me down or you’re going to forget”. Then, I go around talking about it because besides being ADD I’m an extravert and that’s how we extraverts process by talking out loud to people. So how are we type A people suppose to live with the list? How are any of us to live with the list and find peace?


Here’s my strategy, just my humble fumbling learning by my usual experiential fall on your face experience and some helpful psychological and spiritual education they talked to me about in school and in books J


1.     Accept it- if you are the type that likes to have things in order you will always have a list. If you are not someone that needs life to have some sort of order resemblance and you navigate somewhat efficiently then please chime in, please…


2.     Watch your energy source- I have found it can be easy to get tunnel vision. Most people report an internal sense of gratification, or maybe a kind of high, from literally crossing through an accomplished task. Okay, so balance might look like getting the crossing off fix a few times but don’t get obsessed!! There is more to life and other sources of energy. If you are perhaps kinfolk in the adult ADD family with me then there is an extra element to watch for- Hyper Focus.  Those that are relatives know exactly what I mean J


3.     Ask yourself an internal question about your list.  What purpose does your list serve?


4.     Ask more specific thoughts like: Does it make me feel important or needed?


5.      How many of the things on my list would matter if I were on my death bed or if something really impactful came up like cancer, death etc. ugh?


6.      Is it fulfilling an artificial need for external power?


7.      Is it a frightened part of my personality trying to control me?


8.      Is it me striving to feel better about myself or safe?


9.     Is this list full of only task needs?


10. Do I have included and prioritized on my “to do list” my Authentic Needs as well as my Task Needs?


11. Do I know how to create a to do list that is authentic in power? A list that can add true peace and alignment in my life. A list that might include hum…. meditation, exercise, creative time, nature walks, quiet reflective time. A list that is your oxygen mask for life. A list that includes the ordinary task list but also includes your Passions, your Rest and Recovery, your Creativity, your Spiritual development. This type of list represents our Authentic needs.


12. Knowing and honoring, by prioritizing, my Authentic Needs list helps me live with the other list more peacefully. That’s why I knew I had to meditate before I wrote this article.


If you want to explore this concept further make not just one list but two!!!

Make a list of your Authentic needs along with your task needs this week then let your intuition guide you.


Peace and Light,





To learn more or explore more about this concept visit my web site or journey with me in solution focused therapy. Let’s explore what our list is trying to tell us.


Marcy Pruett, MA (Master’s in Counseling of Psychology):

I am a solution-focused counselor who works with all ages starting from 15 on. I work with men and women on a wide variety of challenges such as: anxiety, depression, relationship, transitions, ADD, divorce, teen issues, co-dependency, work and career issues, trauma (EMDR) certified, identity, self-esteem, communication and personal growth.

 My goal is to help you uncover your true potential and lead a life that is worth celebrating. While we can't change difficult situations of the past, we can work together to better understand and resolve challenges in life. By applying complementary therapy approaches and techniques, we will unearth long-standing behavior patterns or negative perceptions that may be holding you back from experiencing a more fulfilling and meaningful life.


Zukav, G. The Seat of the Soul. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.

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