TO-DO vs. MUST-DO: Using Lists to Get Closer to Your Goals AND Focus on Self-Care



I recently commented on an IG post that starting new projects is my ministry. No matter how much I have on my plate, when the stars align and the inspiration strikes, I will take on another project that fuels my engine and can impact the world in a positive way while also making me happy (and making me money!)


In managing the many projects that I have running concurrently, I have also included in my ministry the use of lists. Now, everyone's got a TO-DO list. How many of us attack a day thinking of all the things we have to do. A checklist of specially curated items that serve our many responsibilities AND get us closer to our goals. My list usually looks like some variation of the following:


- Laundry

- Pay bills / budgeting

- Grocery shopping

- Call client to set up sessions

- Prep for client call at 6pm

- Complete 2 free consultation/client intake calls

- Finish PPT and presentation notes

- Schedule social media content for the next week

- Complete next module of certification course

- Write (3) blog posts

- Draft weekly newsletter

- Conduct market research for online course


Sometimes, the daily to-do list can get long. And overwhelming!


One way that I’ve actively combatted the overwhelm of the to-do list is to create a MUST-DO list. Over time, I’ve been able to look at habits and ways of being that really don't serve me anymore, that only succeed in holding me back. One of my bad habits was to WORK WORK WORK without pause or break, checking off as many items as possible without paying attention to when my tank was on E. Creating a must-do list was essential in prioritizing my self-care and making sure I can show up for myself and the people in my life the way I envision.



A to-do list revolves around work and your daily responsibilities. The list is usually a compilation of tasks or chores that need to get done, research that needs to be compiled or projects to pursue. It is achievement based. What do you need to get done to be one step closer to accomplishing your goals?


A must-do list revolves around “play,” but I use that term loosely. It focuses on self-care – your health and wellness. It is rejuvenation based. What do you need to do for yourself in order to attack each day with fresh resolve, ready to take on whatever life has to throw at you?


Here are the guidelines to creating your own:


(1) MUST-do lists revolve around self-care and wellness, not checking off a laundry list

of items

(2) If it feels like work, keep it off the list! That's what the To-do list is for

(3) Keep it simple, make it manageable. Don't have your MUST-do list mirror your To-

do list. On the days where it's a lot, how can you expect to get anything done on

either end? ⠀⠀

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My MUST-DO list looks like this:

1. Read

2. Write

3. Meditate

4. Yoga

5. 30-minute creativity block

6. Relaxing bath


On the days where I get to all 6 things, it is a great day and I feel centered and rejuvenated for the next day. But on the days where I don’t get to all 6 things, I at least try to make sure to read, meditate and have a relaxing bath. I also give myself grace, because I know that sometimes, things don’t always go according to plan and we have to play the hand we’re dealt as best we can. Determine what self-care routines you need to implement in your day, in order to be productive and you’ve already won half the battle. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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What's your MUST-DO list look like?