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How to Put Yourself On Your To-Do List

How to Put Yourself On Your To-Do List

If you ask me, building balance into your life can feel like a full-time job sometimes. So much to do and so little time to figure out how to get it all done.

We recently completed a research study at my company, The Mom Complex, where we analyzed how, when, and where mothers keep their to-do list. Meaning, on a piece of paper in their purse, buried in an app on their phone, or floating around on six different Post-it notes? 

As part of the study, we had moms submit pictures of their list-making ways and we weren’t surprised to see list after list overflowing with tasks, assignments and to-dos for everyone in their lives…except themselves. That’s right. Things like scheduling a haircut, downloading a new meditation track, or even buying more mascara never made the list. 

It seems like mothers everywhere are saying, “Oh, you know, I’ll get around to taking care of myself if there’s extra time and energy left over after taking care of everything and everyone else.”

Well, it’s time for that shit to stop ladies. 

Inspired by what I saw (and didn’t see) in mothers’ to-do lists from across the country, I created a new format for my own to-do list that ensures that I’ve got my eye on the big picture at all times. Meaning, I’m not just grinding away checking off boxes for my job, children, and home while completely ignoring my own needs.

In this case, I started with a blank PowerPoint slide and inserted the four main categories that I would typically have to-dos for in any given week: my job, my book, my family and, yes, myself. Each morning I sit down and contemplate what I need to take care of across these different areas of my life.

I’ve been doing this for three weeks now and it’s been a fascinating experiment in self-preservation. 

I no longer wait until the last minute to reschedule that dentist appointment I can’t make or to sign up for that yoga class that fills up so quickly, or forget to re-order my moisturizer. And what’s more, every time I look down at my to-do list during the middle of the day, I’m forced to keep my eye on the prize, meaning: my full life.

What categories are most important in your life right now, and how can you keep them (including yourself!) front and center when it comes to that daunting to-do list of yours? Starting today, make a pact to put yourself on your to-do list and see what happens. I think you, your sanity, and all of your forgotten needs will be incredibly grateful. 

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Katherine Wintsch