Your Most Important To-Do List

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” ~Pericles

Every day we are swamped by tasks. Catch up on work. Buy groceries. Reply to those emails. Do the housework. Hand in that project. Pick up the dry-cleaning. Make that appointment. Go to the gym.

The constant connection to social media, as amazing and valuable as it can be, adds even more tiny tasks to our never-ending to-do-lists. Upload. Download. Tweet. Reply. Blog. Comment. Follow. Pin. Update. Check-in. Watch. Like. Read. Send.

My to-do’s are pinned up on my wall, stuck on my laptop, written on my iPhone, and floating around in my mind almost constantly.

With all these never-ending tasks consuming me all day, it’s easy to become stressed, irritable, and negative, and to forget what is most important: love, happiness, kindness, laughter, and gratitude.

To help me stay grounded during my day, I created my most important to-do list. Seeing this everyday reminds me of what really matters, and helps me to maintain positivity, clarity, and peace amongst the craziness.

Your Most Important To-Do List:

1. Smile at yourself.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

How many times do you see your reflection in a day? And how many times do you see yourself actually looking happy?

Smiling at yourself can make you feel just as good as when someone else smiles at you. You smile at your friends, your family, colleagues, peers, even strangers, so why not show that same love to yourself?

Seeing your own smiling face in the bathroom mirror can help you strengthen your self-love, and it’s an awesome way to start your day!

2. Smile at others.

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” ~Mother Teresa

There’s a pretty good chance that anyone you smile at will smile right back at you. (And if they don’t, keep smiling anyway!)

Whether you smile at a loved one or smile at a stranger, it’s a great happiness booster for all involved. It will leave you feeling so good about yourself that you won’t be able to wipe the smile off of your beautiful face!

3. Commit an act of kindness.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” ~Lao Tzu

Give up your seat on the bus. Pay for the order of the person behind you in line at Starbucks. Buy someone flowers. Give compliments. Leave a love note on a bathroom mirror or on a seat on a train or in a clothing store fitting room.

Today, with the awesomeness of social media, you can perform a kind act for a stranger without even leaving the house! A great example of this is the DropALoveBomb crew, who write supportive comments every week on the blogs of people going through a tough time.

Whatever you do, being kind to others is a win-win situation, and one kind act can often lead to another—and another, and another—creating a ripple effect of kindness and love.

4. Laugh.

“A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.” ~Carolyn Birmingham

Everyone loves to laugh, and with all the scientific research showing just how much we benefit from it, there’s no reason not to enjoy a good giggle everyday.

Watch your favourite funny movie or sitcom, hang out with that friend who always puts you in hysterics, or search for “laughing baby” or “sneezing panda” on YouTube, and let the soulful laughs roll!

5. Say thank you.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~Melody Beattie

Taking time every day to think of, or write down, everything you are grateful for is an amazing way to boost your happiness and see the world in a more positive light.

Gratitude shared is even better, so say thank you to someone who helped you out, buy a thank you card, or tweet it using the Gratitude Stream app.

Thank whatever higher power your heart connects with, for all the blessings in your life today, and for all the blessings that are on their way.

At the end of your day, whether you have completed all your tasks or not, if you have checked everything off this to-do list, you have succeeded.

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

About Jen Saunders

Jen Saunders is a stargazing, rainbow riding, empowerment artist. She is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Wild Sister Magazine, and fiercely believes that by empowering women we can empower the world. Tweet her @wildsistermag and connect with Wild Sister Magazine on Facebook.

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  • Ankush

    i will try this 

  • Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

    Well, this was a lovely way to start my day. I will definitely keep this to-do list in mind. In the midst of all of our obligations, we often forget about what’s really important. Thanks for the reminder, Jen.  

  • Bella

    Thank you Jen. Beautiful words of wisdom. I will make this tomorrows to do list xx

  • These five to-dos are so important. I definitely keep this in mind. Hence I choose to do my other list late into the night so I can spend my time with my family during the day, the most important part.

  • Jen, this is such wonderful advice! Your list got me excited about sharing a smile, paying a compliment, expressing my gratitude RIGHT NOW — not “yes, I should really remember to do this,” but to really internalize these principles and practice them today, tonight, tomorrow, every day. Thank you!

  • LOVE this one!!! My love and I are practicing this everyday now and this, of course, was just handed to us by the universe as a reminder for our busy day today! THANK YOU!

  • Likethewave

    Thanks for linking the Gratitude stream app, I’m excited about that! Gratitude is such a powerful practice.

  • Rob

    Thank you 🙂

  • Great reminder on what’s really important – having an impact on yourself and others.  Thank you 

  • Vishnu

    I like this post – thinking of  physically writing out this to do list. We do so with so many other tasks in our life that are important to getting something done – why not these items as well?

  • This is a beautiful post! Thank you! I think I will create custom wallpaper for my phone with these words on it: smile, be kind, laugh, say thank you. 🙂

  • Lippe2

    Yay – so needed this today!  Thank you 🙂

  • Spot on Jen! It’s so easy to miss what’s MOST important in life, amongst the little details of our days. Thanks for the reminder, I’m writing this out on a nice big pink sticky note and sticking it over the clock on my computer, so whenever I try and see the time, I get reminded 😀 xo

  • Guest

    Oh that’s so awesome! The Universe really does provide, doesn’t it? 😀

  • Guest

    Great idea, Fran! I’m thinking about making an art print of it so I can hang it on my wall in my office, I need to see it as much as possible! Thanks for your lovely comment 😀 xo

  • Guest

    That’s an awesome idea, Norbert! Tweet it to me, I’d love to see it! 😀

  • Guest

    Yay! So happy you connected with this post so much! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and for reading mine! 😀

  • Brenda

    Sometimes I think we’re twins Jen.

  • Pingback: Work in Progress: Wild Spirit Self-Portrait()

  • Lakeaustinrental

    Loved this positive thinking
    Xo MJ

  • Great reminder …’Love, Play, Smile, Believe, Wish, Hope, Dream’. Everything else is a means to an end.

  • Everyday we’re consumed by some many ‘important’ things to do and what’s really important to keep our balance is left for later. Truth is this opportunity to say thanks or to smile will never come, because we are fully booked with daily errands. Great collaboration! There’s a new ‘to do’ list on my BlackBerry now.

  • rajendra kumari

    how can i smile when i am angry

  • Good be happy

  • Sathyanand S

    Spot on 🙂

    In the everyday whirlwind of everyday activity, we simply miss out living out life.

    To-do listing and organizing are only tools and are a means to an end. They are not end in itself.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    ~ Sathya