“Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.” ~ Thomas Carlyle

todoTo Do Lists – Helpful or Stressful?

Are you a ‘To Do List’ person? Does it give you a great sense of achievement when you add things to your list and then are able to cross them off? Or does your list create more anxiety when you are never able to reach the end? Does it often feel that for every one task you complete, another two are added?

There are several attributes looked at during the Realise 2 strengths process, which relate to our individual motivation and drive to complete tasks.


Planful – You have a natural ability to plan and prepare, taking a systematic approach for everything you do

Time Optimiser – You maximize your time to get the most of whatever time you have available and in whatever situation

Drive – You are motivated to constantly set yourself goals and targets. You have learned that as soon as you complete one task you should move onto the next

Whilst coaching participants recently regarding their individual strength results, I noticed a common theme. Many participants who had realised strengths of Planful, Time Optimiser and Drive, also had high work ethic featuring as one of their top 7 realised strengths. These individuals were incredibly successful, self-motivated and managed to power through ‘To Do’ Lists and achieve an impressive volume of work in each day. Upon further reflection, it seemed this pattern of constant achieving did not only relate to their professional careers, but was also the way they managed their personal lives as well.

For many of these high achievers, the strength or attribute which did not seem to feature as highly was gratitude. This is described in the R2 strengths dictionary, as: “You are constantly aware of how fortunate you are, you naturally notice and appreciate the good things which happen to you”.

There is no right or wrong way to define individual success; it is simply what matters most to each of us. But if our lives are a constant ‘doing’ and rushing and achieving without any time to reset, to celebrate our efforts and all we have achieved, then are we being truly authentic? And is this way of being sustainable long term? Or do we risk burn out?

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is to celebrate” ~ Oprah Winfrey

Australian Business and Life Coach Shannah Kennedy poses an important question: “Are you on your own ‘to do’ list?”

To sustain optimal levels of wellbeing, we need to take responsibility for scheduling in self-care, celebrating efforts and rewarding ourselves. This does not have to mean booking a holiday or buying a new wardrobe (although it might!), it is about honouring oneself, recognising limits and not succumbing to anxiety or guilt when we consciously decide to take a break and leave our ‘To Do’ list alone.

For those who are ‘To Do’ List lovers, below are some of our favourite reminders to stop, reflect, celebrate and practice gratitude for all that we have and all that we continue to accomplish.

1. Authentic check – are you being YOU? Are you living to your values and making decisions from a place of truth?

2. Gratitude – are you expressing this daily? This is a great evening ritual just before bed, to write down 3 things you are grateful for that day.

3. What is working well – are you building on your strengths to get the results you want?

4. Humour – don’t lose this! Have you genuinely laughed today?

5. Celebrate success – name your top 3 accomplishments at the end of every week. Rewarding effort on your journey towards a goal is often more important than the achievement of the goal itself.

During our signature 3-day LEAP course, we explore Personal Pyramids. The foundation of this is around what you believe, your values and your purpose. Above that is what you do, your strengths, the action and behaviours that reinforce your purpose.

Our next LEAP course is running in Matakana, New Zealand from 29 June – 2 July. We would love for you to join us! For more information write to mandy@outsidethelines.life.