I love to make lists! Shopping lists, to do lists, check lists, to delegate lists, etc These are all things for me to do, or so I don´t forget to do, or for me to ensure other people do! I love Trello – it is just lists, lists, lists.

However, this year, I decided it was all about ME. For me to look after myself and put myself first, I realised I needed to create a different kind of list! A “To Be” list.

I needed to think about me! Where am I? Who am I? Where I am going? I am the Being behind the Doing!

Some people might get confused about the difference between the two lists. So how DO they differ?

To Do lists are – we are all familiar with. They are;

  • Concrete and specific
  • Each item can be ticked off and archived or moved into the “accomplished/done” list. To Do lists can include big goals with various sub lists as well as small tasks. When you have “to do” lists, they need to be updated constantly, especially if it involves team work or delegation

When you create “To Do” Lists, they are constantly on your mind. This obsession impacts our health and well-being. We have become stressed by our “To Do” list. We often feel tired and resentful. Our “To Do” lists only leave our minds when we fall asleep…

….but then our alarm goes off, and what is the first thing that pops in our mind…? 

On the other hand, “To Be” lists are entirely different . To Be lists are;

  • Abstract and imprecise
  • Broad and personal that direct your behaviour and shape To Do lists.
  • Revised occasionally, annually perhaps or as a result of recent events
  • Concentrated on the most important
  • Future-oriented. Who and how will you be tomorrow, next week, next month?


When you create a “To Be” List, it requires and element self-reflection. How would you describe yourself? What is necessary in your day to day life? Which relationships are important in your life? This can be work, family, friends and loved ones. How do you see yourself in these relationships? Are you wife, mother, etc, or are you YOU? Do you feel your relationships are balanced? What qualities do you bring? Which words would others use to describe your character? This is a very valuable exercise, especially if it is done anonymously, it can give you peace and confidence. What characteristics would you want to cultivate to allow you to be. How do you spend your time? How would you wish to spend your time? What do you never get the time to do? What things do you miss doing?

Focus on the most important answers to these questions, and let that be the basis of your “To Be” List. Remember, the same as a “To Do” List, things can change as they are achieved and as new priorities happen! Ensure you write down your “To Be” List. It makes it real, and helps you put an action plan in place. Don´t make it too long. Make sure it is achievable and then you can make another if you want. Like anything else, it is always good to re-evaluate, review and update. If you follow your “To Be” List, you will have changed and evolved during that period of time so it makes sense to review.

I came across a great quotation somewhere, but it is very apt – “We are human beings, not human doings, so why do we forget that being is as important as doing?” This is very true!

What would be different if you made a “To Be” list? It could be as simple as taking a moment when you wake up in the morning to consciously choose how you want to be throughout the day. Put on a T-shirt with a positive quotation, and let it be your day. Think about your “To Do” List, and also ask yourself how you want to be as you do.

Another good idea and personal affirmation is to write down a list of qualities you’d like to embody, or feelings you’d like to feel. Write them down on a piece of paper, and then place it on your fridge or even write it on your wall. You could also make a collage (I´m great with Canva )

Try it for a week and see what happens! You may find that placing your attention on how you want to be, will create new positive energy and outcomes in your day.