Excel At Life logo


PsychArticles button PsychNotes button PsychApps button PsychAudios button PsychTests button About button
Support Excel At Life's Mission!
Help Translate
Spread the Word
Make Contribution
Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!
Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career











Sport Psych


Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

Conflict in the Workplace

Motivation: Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

Promoting Healthy Behavior Change

10 Common Errors in CBT

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Rejection Sensitivity, Irrational Jealousy and Impact on Relationships

For Women Only: How to Have the Relationship of Your Dreams

What to Do When Your Partner's Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Relationship

Making Attributions for a Healthier Attitude

Happiness is An Attitude

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

The Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Co-Dependency: An Issue of Control

The Pillars of the Self-Concept: Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?


Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Meadow Relaxation

Rainy Autumn Morning

Energizing Audios

Quick Stress Relief

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

Kindle Books by Dr. Monica Frank


Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

The Porcupine Effect: Pushing Others Away When You Want to Connect

What if You Considered Other Peoples' Views?

5 Common Microaggressions Against Those With Mental Illness

What to Expect from Mindfulness-based Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (MCBT) When You Have Depression and Anxiety

Does Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Lack Compassion? It Depends Upon the Therapist

When Needs Come Into Conflict

What to Do When Anger Hurts Those You Love

A Brief Primer On the Biology of Stress and How CBT Can Help

50 Tools for Panic and Anxiety

Coping With Change: Psychological Flexibility

Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Ending a Bad Relationship

I'm Depressed. I'm Overwhelmed. Where Do I Start?


Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training

Riding a Horse Across the Plains

Cityscape Mindfulness

Change Yourself--Don't Wait for the World to Change

The Great Desert Mindfulness

Tropical Garden Mindfulness

Thinking Your Way to a Healthy Weight

Lies You Were Told

Probability and OCD

Choosing Happiness

Magic Bubbles for Children

Lotus Flower Relaxation

Cloud Castles for Children

Hot Air Balloon Motivation

All Audio Articles

PsychNotes March 2016

PsychNotes Index

Previous Month        Next Month

March 14, 2016       

Mindfulness and “To Do” Lists

by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
Many people erroneously believe that mindfulness and productivity are not compatible. This common misunderstanding is due to the idea that mindfulness meditation is the goal rather than the means. However, the purpose of mindfulness practice is to help foster a mindful attitude to bring to all activities of life.

I tend to be a fairly busy person—I remember only one day in my life where I crossed everything off my to do list. However, I use my to do list as a tool. It doesn't control me or make me feel bad if I don't cross anything off because my to do list is not a list of demands. It is a list that allows me to focus on the immediate thing I'm working on. By writing it down I don't have to worry about it or even think about it until I am ready to focus on it.

In this way, my to do list is actually part of my mindful attitude. It keeps me present with what I am doing because I know I have a plan that is safely recorded and I don't have to juggle a bunch of things in my mind. And even when I'm writing my to do list I can mindfully focus on the list. Instead of worrying about how everything will get done I can tell myself, “It is on my list. I have a plan. And I will just focus on one thing at a time.”

During times of great stress my to do list becomes even more important. When stressed, our minds are divided among many things which makes it difficult to maintain a mindful attitude. For me, the to do list helps keep me focused on the immediate task knowing I will get to the other items as I am able.

I am not saying that everyone needs a to do list. But if you use one, don't let it be demanding and controlling. If it is demanding and you are feeling overwhelmed by the to do list, it is not a mindful tool. Instead, use it as a way of planning to help you work in a mindful way. Its only purpose is to help you organize and remember what you want to do so you can focus on your present task.


Questions and Comments

All comments and questions require approval so you may not see your submission immediately.

More PsychNotes
Mindfulness and Relaxation Methods

Mindfulness is Simply Being Without Judgment
Mindful Passion
Mindfulness: What's in a Name?
Mindfulness Practice and Relapse Prevention When Using Anti-depressants
The Mindful Journey
The Benefits of Mindfully Washing Dishes
The Difference Between Mindful Focus and a Mindful Attitude
Mindfulness Training Shows Promise for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Mindfulness and Managing Chronic Pain
How We Might Stop Bullying: Kindness Curriculum for Preschoolers
Practicing Loving-Kindness May Elicit Resentments
How Mindfulness Can Reduce Risk for Alzheimer's and Heart Disease
Mindful Attention to Unhealthy Foods Improves Food Choices
Want an Easy and Uplifting Health Practice? Laughing Qigong
Mindful Dating: How Does Mindfulness Affect Satisfaction in Relationships?
10 Everyday Frustrations and a Mindful Attitude
What is the Difference Between Mindful Acceptance and Emotional Suppression?
Mindful Attention Reduces Anger for Those With Borderline Personality Disorder
The Paradox of the Mindful Attitude
The Key to Mindful Breathing for Sleep
Addiction to Emotions and Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness Practice is Not Focusing, It is Re-Focusing
How Much Should You Practice Mindfulness?
For Fun--Try Being Mindful About the Weather
What Could Be More Mindful Than a Cat Watching Bird Videos?
Wisdom Doesn't Come In Sound Bites
Qigong Can Reduce Depression
Demands vs. Mindfulness for Enhancing Performance
Acceptance as the Basis for Wisdom?
“I want to feel good NOW!”
The 20-Minute a Day Miracle
Be the Best You Can Be: On Mindfulness and Performance
Being Mindful of Emotions Decreases Intensity
Massage: Effects on Anxiety, Depression, and Pain
Mindfulness and Flow in the Workplace
Mindfulness May Prevent Relapse
Is Mindfulness-Based Therapy Effective?
Qi Gong Exercise Shown to Improve Mood
Mindfulness Skills Can Improve Relationships

PsychNotes Index

Previous Month        Next Month

Become a fan on Facebook! Follow on twitter for site updates! Follow on Google+ for site updates!