To-Be or To-Do

I am a time management addict. I like to plan things, plan my day-tight compartments, allocate time for the things I have to do and prioritize. I am not complaining. This technique has proved very effective and I always say, “if something goes on my calendar then it will be accomplished”. From a goal and perspective, this is perfect. Results fly and I am satisfied and happy at what I have achieved in life with this approach. I have been practicing and teaching time management for years now and the results are astounding.

If you like to learn more about time management or would like to schedule a productive session, feel free to email me and we can arrange for a 2 hour productive session.


Recently, however, I have noticed that focus, goal orientation and having a To-Do list in itself is not enriching. I felt the vacuum in this approach when over a weekend as soon as I woke up and had my cup of tea, my immediate next instinct was to come up with the things “to do” and “accomplish” that day. I took a pen and a piece of paper and started making a “To-Do” list.  Life felt boring and it was not a very exciting way to get started for a weekend.

The old adage that enjoying the journey is more important than the destination is so true. We are so focused on achieving the end results and goals that we forget the motive for our actions and enriching that motive with our thought process. This concept of a motive for our action was evident in a recent experience.

I have a very good friend who I call regularly, almost every day. As part of the call we talk about several things and most of the time I just speak out my mind. During one such conversation, my friend stopped me and asked, “do you call me to just speak out your mind and/or complain?’. I thought about it for a moment and said “honestly that is not true”. My intention in making the call is to have that connection with my friend; how we discuss and what we discuss is an open-ended subject and sometimes may also be planned depending on our mutual need. The motive here is the intent to connect with my friend, hear the voice and not  just speak up my mind, or in my friend’s words ‘complain’.

or To-Be?

The motive is critical in anything we do. If our motive is just preparing a ‘to-do’ list then very soon we will become robots just checking one thing after other on our life’s to-do list.

Instead, if you look it at from a different perspective and think about what should be our “to-be” purpose in our life and then in every “to-do” thing that we do, try to embrace the “to-be”. Sounds confusing! You are not alone as this is not something that is generally given much attention. Let me take an example. Let us say, you decide that today your purpose is “to-be” at “peace”. You make this affirmation first thing in the morning and then as part of good time management practice, you prepare a “to-do” list. Let us say a top priority on that to-do list is to call an irate client of yours. Make this motive of  ‘to-be’ at ‘peace’ a core intent of your call. Repeat the affirmation prior the call and for a few seconds imagine the outcome to be a peaceful call with an ending where you and the client end up on a peaceful note with some concrete positive next steps.You will realize by keeping the ‘to-be’ to be your motive and then making the call, it brings about an entirely different outcome.

Just yesterday, in my own experience I noticed how this impacts outcomes. I had made up by mind ‘to be’ at ‘peace’. I had a call early in the morning with a prospect on mutual opportunities.  35 minutes into the call, I lost focus and was not paying closer attention to what the prospect was saying. The message might have come across the wire to him and noticing the lack of attention, abruptly he thanked me for the time and hung up. This was a terrible thing to do on my part. My mind engaged in an endless chatter on what a big mistake it was, how could I be so stupid and yada..yada..I quickly recovered as I remembered the affirmation that my ‘to-be’ purpose was to be at peace and I would not let anything distract me from that core motive. I gave an internal apology, reminding myself to not repeat this behavior and I went on with my day not letting this incident impact me.

By afternoon, I received an email from the prospect appreciating my work and also indicating that he wanted to meet me next week and discuss further on materializing the opportunity!

Put yourself at ease and keep a ‘to-be’ motive to get your day started. There are several you can pick up: Love, Peace, Quality, Empathy etc. Pick the one that you would like to become your theme in everything you for the day and in will be a rewarding experience.

Here is a nice quote that I like : “It is not that life is short, we take too long to begin.”

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