The Power of a To-Do List

photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov

photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov

By: Josie Smith

In a society that praises constant motion, we’ve started an unspoken competition of “who can endure the most stress without drastically altering your blood pressure.” We actually brag about how many meetings, leadership positions, and projects we have going on at one time. We leave one thing early in order to make it to the next, being physically available without ever being truly present. At the end of the week, I find myself drained in every sense of the word. But I continue to repeat it over and over again.

With a thousand things to do, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed, searching for any chance to feel a little bit of accomplishment.

I resolved to start finding ways to help myself slow down a little. Sometimes I put “shower” on my to-do list, just so I know that I will have something to cross off (or I will be mercilessly judged for sub-par hygiene). Or I’ll add “make a playlist of relaxing music,” so I have something to listen to while I study. By breaking up more demanding tasks on the list with easy things - or pizookies with friends - I start to feel like I am accomplishing more than I had before.

In the process of attempting to trick myself with these seemingly small things, I began to realize I was actually reevaluating my priorities. By adding socializing and relaxation as items on my to-do list, I was reminding myself that my friends and my health were as important as anything my classes or job assigned me. And these “small things” actually weren’t so insignificant at all.

Ultimately, I am more than a student. More than an employee. More than a volunteer. More than a campus leader. I am a collection of all these things and more. And a comprehensive to-do list reminds me that I accomplish just as much - if not more - while getting coffee with a friend as I do when finishing a midterm paper. If we’re going to embrace the 1-million-miles-per-hour lifestyle, let’s remember that there’s more to it than obligations and deadlines.