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How to Get Rid of Your To-Do List Forever (and Still Get Everything Done)

Mind + Body, Stress

Question: What do you have to do today?

(Go ahead, take a moment and mentally run down the list).

If your list is chock full of amazing, congratulations. You can stop reading right here. Go get started on all of those incredibly fun, fulfilling things to do.

But if your list feels endless, exhausting, or like a total buzzkill, there’s something — yes, to do — about that. It’s called “reframing.”

Reframing is a type of neurolinguistic programming — a communication pattern that affects our actions, behaviors and other outcomes.

This is an integral self-care technique, because it:

  • clarifies the conversations you have with yourself
  • magically modifies your mindset, and
  • changes your outlook, or the “frame” from which you view the world.

It’s like wearing the same glasses for most of your life, and then getting a new prescription that allows you to see things you never saw before.

And you can reframe your terrible “to-do’s” in just 3 steps.

  1. Pull out your to-do list.
  2. Imagine for a moment that everything that you “have” to do becomes something that you “get” to do.
  3. In each instance, simply replace the word “have” for the word “get.”

In other words, change your frame from having to do something to getting the chance to do something.

This takes practice. After all, you’ve been practicing your current mental framework for years, and old habits die hard. But, when performed, reframing works nearly every time.

Even your least favorite tasks are usually things that are, indeed, voluntary choices:

  • Exercising? You get to do this because your body is healthy enough, and your heart committed.
  • Eating better? You get to do this because you have the insanely good fortune of living in one of the most abundant food meccas on the planet, and you have the opportunity to regularly allocate your resources accordingly.
  • Paying bills or spending money? You get to do this in exchange for receiving products and services that improve your quality of life in some way.

This is reframing at its best. By replacing “have” with “get,” you’ll see that your to-do list actually offers opportunities for mindfulness and gratitude that are so surprising, they might as well be gift-wrapped.

Go ahead and give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised at all that you get in return.

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