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Do you ever feel as though your life is just one long To-Do list? Until recently mine felt like that, as my To-Do list seemingly took on a life of its own. I’m an organised person but the sheer volume of things I had to do, both personally and professionally meant that it had become overwhelming and didn’t know where to start, or indeed finish.

So I found myself drowning under this list, reaching a point where I realised I couldn’t continue this way, crossing one thing of the top while adding 3 at the bottom. It was becoming exhausting and bad for my general wellbeing. Sound familiar? So I decided to swim ashore, sit on the beach and view things from a different perspective.

beach scene

Working with images through collage is one way of seeing from a different perspective. I’ve found that working with collage regularly has helped shift me to a place where I look at things from a different perspective sooner rather than later. So, drawing on learning from a past experience I focused on the outcome rather than the task, considering why these things were on the list in the first place. Surely it wasn’t simply for the satisfaction of ticking or crossing them off (or not) at the end of each day. Neither was it so I could feel I’d been productive and used my time efficiently.

No, the things on my list were there to help me reach a goal based on my values. I started UnglueYou® to help individuals and organisations with their self-development, offering a a creative approach through magazine picture collage. I believe that we all have unique gifts and that when we are true to ourselves and walk in them we can achieve the best for ourselves and others. Living successful, fulfilling and meaningful lives; whatever that looks like for an individual. However, somewhere in all the ‘doing’, created by increased workshops and interest in my work (yippee), my list had become a burden, rather than a tool to help me continue living my values and achieving my goals. Instead my focus was entirely on the specific task in hand, how fast could I get it out the way and move onto the next one?

The areas not affected by this were activities related to direct contact with people; so workshop delivery and business or social interactions. Why? Because then I knew I was living my values. I’d failed to realise that each task on the To-Do list also enabled me to live these values (albeit in some cases indirectly).

For example:

  • Add ‘Picture to Performance’ project to LinkedIn: Raising awareness of a collaborative project that can support businesses to shape and share their story in a creative way.
    • Value = Creativity is transformative  and we are all creative
  • Take time off work to stay with my niece:
    • Value = Nurturing strong, healthy relationships
  • Take the stuff in the shed to the recycling point:
    • Value =Taking care of the environment

Now my To-Do list is called ViM (values in mind) and if the task doesn’t fit one of my values – it’s off the list, and with the end goal and values in mind it no longer feels like an overwhelming burden. Admittedly the list isn’t any shorter, and I still have to employ time management and prioritisation skills, but this shift in thinking has made a positive difference to how I view it and approach each task.



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