You may see the ‘TO DO’ lists in your life as a necessity.

to done list

Frustrated woman

The problem is that the majority of the time they make you feel lousy.


The ‘productive you’ writes a list of everything you plan on getting done each day.

If you’re like most people, your list is way too long.

You rarely complete what you set out to do. You feel unproductive, negative, and frustrated and immediately go to that critical place in your head where you’re ‘not enough’. Doing this effects your quality of work, creativity, and enjoyment.

Think about it.

If you’re always rushing to get to the next task, how can you possibly be in the moment?

Can you imagine how it would feel not only to wipe negative feelings away but to replace them with positive and exciting ones?

Guess what? YOU CAN DO IT. It’s simple and here’s how.

Make a ‘TO DONE’ List.

A ‘TO DONE’ List is what you’ve accomplished from 20 years ago up through the present.

You can use it for one area of your life ….such as taking care of your health, following your intuition, extraordinary things that you’ve done or the relationships in your life. Or you can use it as a ‘general’ list for anything positive you’ve accomplished in your life.

This is how to create it.

Start backwards and work up until present day. It doesn’t matter what age you start at – although I recommend going back at least 20 years.

I’ll use myself as an example. My ‘TO DONE’ List is about gardening. For the past several years, I’ve thought of myself as a passionate, artistic, and skillful gardener. But since coming to Israel, I’ve questioned my ability and passion (until this past year).

So, this is how I went about compiling my list.

When I was 10 years old, I had a mini vegetable garden, a few tomatoes and carrots. Add to my ‘TO DONE’ List.

In college, I had 40+ plants in my basement apt. Add to my ‘TO DONE’ List.

In my first apt. after I got married, I had window boxes filled with geraniums. Add to my ‘TO DONE’ List.

Get the idea?

Remember that No ‘TO DONE’ is too small to add to the list. 

By now, you may be thinking to yourself, ‘What the heck is Fran talking about’?’ and ‘Why should I bother doing this?’


You will:

1. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Keep that ‘TO DONE’ List in a place where you can look at it every day.

Reading it several times a day is like saying a mantra. It becomes a part of your repertoire.

Before too long, you’re feeling a heck of a lot better. You radiate with POSITIVE ENERGY. You’re on the road to ‘believing in yourself.’

2. OPEN TO POSSIBILITY. You no longer need to control situations. You choose to take risks.

Each year go skiing in Colorado for your  family vacation. Walking to work one day, you notice  a poster on a travel agent’s window advertising a trip to Ecuador, going to the rain forest and meeting with the native tribes who are trying to save it. You feel a surge of excitement and decide to do some research on it.

You’ve always bought low heeled shoes in a neutral color. Flipping through a magazine, you see a model in 3″ high heeled purple suede shoes. You think they’re knock outs. So much for relaxing for the afternoon. You call the store that carries them, make sure they have your size in stock, grab your car keys, put the car in third gear, and race to the store to check them out.

3. IMAGINE AND DREAM. Out of nowhere, ideas flow out of you. Stuff you never imagined.

The sky is the limit. And because you believe in yourself, you take some of these ideas and implement them in not just one….but several areas of your life.

4. PLEASE YOURSELF – and not care what anyone else thinks about you.

There was a time when you needed to follow the crowd, try to fit in with everyone, play it safe.

No more. Now? Your motto is the bolder the better.

You want to paint your the shutters on your house Provence blue? Go for it. You do what brings you pleasure.

5. TAKE RISKS. Having self confidence, opening to possibility, and imagining are all ingredients for taking risks.

You want to be promoted to the newly vacant General Manager’s job. You’ve always waited for your bosses to reward you for your hard work. And you’ve experienced a lot of disappointments.

Not this time.

You choose to take that leap of faith, ask your boss out to lunch, and talk with her about why you’re the person for the job.  The result? She applauds you for being assertive, persuasive, and an excellent communicator. She tells you that you were one of 5 candidates for the job. But now you’re #1 on her short list. As you get up from the table and shake hands, she says that she needs to get the decision passed by the board – then gives you a wink  to let you know that it’s all but a done deal.

6. PLAY. You used to think of play as something kids do when they’re young. But now you know that play is an integral element of the creative process.

You come up with an idea. Rather than routine family dinners, you decide to designate one night a week for a family ‘theme’ feast. The planning, shopping and preparation for these dinners turns into a ritual that you and your family cherish.

When doing your weekend gardening, you begin to ‘play’ rather than ‘work’. Whoever thought you would experience the ‘zen of weeding’?’ Or that deadheading perennials could give you such satisfaction

A tip for getting your brain ready to PLAY.

Before starting,  sit quietly and take some deep breaths. Give thanks for the beauty and abundance in your life.

Then proceed. Work at staying in the moment. If you hear your brain racing, telling you that you need to rush and get other things done, ignore it. Go back to what you’re doing. If necessary, use a mantra to stay focused like: ‘I deserve this time to do what I love doing.’

Appreciate the silence.

7. REFLECT and ENJOY. Sit with a cup of tea or wine and feel how grateful you are for the choices you’re making.  

Sink into knowing that what you’re creating is not merely some small changes in your life. You’re unearthing your creative roots so that you can get to the best of who you are …and live a life of joy and abundance.


Make a ‘TO DONE’ list and tell me about it. How did it make you feel? Is it giving you a sense of accomplishment and a boost of self confidence?

Any other thoughts about garden making? Share them.

My book, Digging Deep: Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening, will guide you through my 7 stages of creative awakening that will help you unearth your creativity in your garden – and life. This translates into living a life filled with joy, abundance, and love.

You can buy it on Amazon in Paperback or Kindle and on Barnes and Noble.

Image credit: creatista / 123RF Stock Photo


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