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Making a To-Be List

In an effort to remain organized, we often turn to the infamous “to-do” lists, putting as many items as possible in bullet form and getting that instantaneous satisfaction when said items are crossed off after completion. However, we commonly get caught up in these activities and measure the success of our day by how many check marks were made vs. how we actually felt throughout the day. While it is important to be intentional with our future endeavors, this should also apply to who we want to become, or “be”. Instead of “to-do” lists running your days, weeks, and months, maybe think about switching gears and instead create a “to-be” list where you outline who you want to be to accomplish all you want to do.


Creating Your To-Be List

Identifying new qualities and/or those that are currently in progress is step one in creating your list. Because who you want to be is ever evolving, deadlines are not given for these points, but rather worked on daily to intentionally develop yourself. Reflect on these desired characteristics and commit to living them out, ultimately transforming destructive states into constructive ones. In an article on Skill Packs they write, “Your to-be list for any particular day will be influenced by a number of things:

  • What’s personal to you
  • What’s important in your job
  • What’s important to your day

What’s personal to you: for me this is all about focus. On my worst days I struggle to focus, and as a result I get less done and end the day frustrated and low. Reminding myself how to focus at the start of the day helps to keep me on track. Often this will involve using the Pomodoro technique, including regular breaks that give me the opportunity to move and indulge my distractions. What’s important in your job: curiosity is an essential component of success in most jobs. It can also be something that I struggle with unless I deliberately remind myself (I can have a rather narrow focus at times!). For both those reasons I usually add curiosity to my to-be list. What’s important to your day: this depends on the type of work that you’re doing that day. If I’m training, then being focused, curious and an attentive listener are all good. And I might add ‘enthusiastic’ to the list too. Or if I’m in a planning workshop for the day, then I might add ‘creative’ and ‘open to new ideas’ to my list. Take 5 minutes at the start of the day and reflect on your to-be list for the day. Make sure you write them down and focus on them. You can write them on a big Post-It note, or a notepad, or a scrap of paper, anything that’s handy. It’s the act of writing and focusing that is helpful.”


Living Your To-Be List

Pinpoint who you want to be then define ways to make it happen! By bringing awareness to who you are and how you want to grow, you can eventually slowly remove that which is holding you back. Because humans have the tendency to insert negative feelings, such as impatience, while waiting around for an end result, it is important to replace these with positive reinforcements to keep you on track. Choosing to live this list each day will strengthen your core talents, making your purpose shine much brighter than the unchecked tasks on your to-do list.


Working towards something will leave you feeling accomplished, allowing you to further set goals without the fear of disappointment. Checking in with a confidant regularly will help you stay on track, while keeping you honest and confident in your process to an improved state of being.