Here is the problem with to-do lists. Most of them contain have-tos, not want-tos. They are full of tasks that are so unimportant and uninspiring that you would forget them if you didn’t write them down. Who needs more of that in their life? I feel like if you are genuinely excited, inspired, and energized by doing something, you don’t need to write it down. When you are in Flow and doing what you love, you are anticipating how great it will be.

Often to-do lists lead to guilt, paralysis by analysis, and worry about if you have enough time, money, or talents to complete everything on the list. Is your life just a series of action items?

You don’t have to suffer to do great things. Instead, you could choose to focus on the magic you want to create in your life. You could choose to do something totally counter-culture, a complete risk, and it can still be easy, magical, and create a massive impact on the world.

Are you spending more time as Clark Kent pretending to play it small, doing what makes others feel safe, and trying to fit in? OR, are you spending more time being Superman, living your best life, using what makes you special, and delivering extraordinary results?

“Happy are the playful, for they will be serious achievers.”

Make a Ta-Da List for the magic you want to create in your life and for others!

But, if you are into lists and goals and feel like it helps you, here are some ideas for keeping track of what really matters.

  • What gives you energy?
  • What are you looking forward to?
  • What have you already done that you are proud of?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • Whose connections do you most value?
  • What are you superpowers?
  • If you had a free hour, day, weekend, week, month or year, how would you most love to spend it?

Things that give me energy:

  • Performing
  • Creative writing
  • Playing sports and other live games
  • Achieving great things through action
  • Connecting with friends and family
  • Podcasting and learning from others
  • Being a part of a community
  • Cooking my own food with lots of fruits, veggies, and water
  • Deep focus study time, learning anything, and reading paperback books
  • Singing, dancing, and making music
  • Mastering a new skill like juggling, Lego, or playing the piano
  • Saying no to things that don’t bring me happiness.

80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

– Pareto Principle

Ask yourself: How can I do something magical today? What if it was easy, fun, and playful? What if I was all-powerful and could design my life?

What would you do then? For me, the perfect day includes 5 Ps. I need to Play, Ponder, Practice, Perform, and Pause. When I make this my to-do list, I find that my life is fulfilling, fun, and most importantly, sustainable. I need to enjoy it. I need time to think. I need time and space to get better at my gifts. I need to use those gifts in a meaningful way for myself and others. And, finally, I need to take breaks to rest and recover so I can keep my mind, body, and spirit healthy.

Here is my Ta-Da! List:

  • Be fully present, playful, and as authentically me as I can.
  • Do work that matters, makes a difference, changes people for the better, and that others can’t or won’t do.
  • Lead others away from their fear and invite them toward playfulness.
  • Connect with people and connect other people.
  • Give gifts and credit to others.
  • Create more than I consume.
  • Choose healthy decisions that make tomorrow easier.

I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become.

– Oprah Winfrey

Finally, don’t forget to go play!

Around 50% of American kids no longer have recess. 55% of American Adults fail to use their vacation time. People who take less than 2 weeks of vacation are less likely to receive a bonus or raise. Companies with engaged workforces outperform the competition by 147%. Only 16% of creative ideas happen at work.

This is a fundamental irony of most people’s lives. They don’t quite know what they want to do with their lives. Yet they are very active.

Ryan Holiday

What activities make you feel guilt-free happiness? How could you invest 2 hours of your time and wages into having fun this week? How could you plan to invest 2 weeks and 12 times your hourly wage into playing this year?