Your Life: Include choose-to-do's on daily task lists

Charlotte Lankard: Scatter some “choose-to-do” items in your to-do lists to make life happier and richer.
BY CHARLOTTE LANKARD Published: April 23, 2012

Wrist watches come with alarms as do mobile phones, which also offer email service and calendars to make sure we don't forget or overlook anything and telephone service is available that allows us to receive calls even while we are talking to someone else.

I wonder how I ever managed without a mobile phone and my iPad. The challenge, of course, is to keep them as tools and not allow them to become my masters.

I like the way Richard Eyre, author of “Teaching Your Children Values,” says it: “Don't let the ‘have-to-do's' take over your life and keep you from any ‘choose-to-do's.'”

Eyre tells of a summer vacation in a place where the phones weren't working. Eventually he made a decision to focus his attention on his family and his time with them, and to quit thinking about business or the office or the market.

But habits are hard to break and he found himself still wanting to make a list every morning. So he did, but this list was made up of “choose-to-do's,” not “have-to-do's.” It was time with his wife and sons, quiet walks on the beach and reading a novel.

He says he had a wonderful time and felt rested when he returned home and resolved to keep putting some family needs and self-needs on his daily list. But it didn't work. He soon left the “things” to do on his list and dropped the items that had to do with family and self.

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