Is it Naughty or Nice? Tips to Tackle Your To-Do Lists

November… Do you think of it as a time for thanksgiving, gratitude and upcoming social events? A time to savor life’s rich flavors?

Or do you roll up your sleeves anticipating a demanding hub bub as you get ready for the holiday rush? Worse yet, is NOV a hot stress mess? I hope not! But if your Negative Noelle inner critic is sitting on your front door step, I have a solution for you.


Rather than antsy anticipation, try this instead:

  1. Be still in your present moment.
  2. Let go of all that does not serve you.
  3. Take a breath.
  4. Smile as you read. It helps you set a happier mood.
  5. Keep smiling!

Need more?

If you know you need to re-frame your anticipated frenzied FUTURE, here’s another tip:

This may sound odd, but rather than continue in your pleasant NOW moment (and I hope you enjoyed it!), please pause again. This time, remember a happy, fulfilling holiday time in your PAST. Sit into that for a second…Close your eyes, take your time, and put yourself back in that lovely reverie.

What did you think/feel/experience in your body… your heart… your soul? What character strengths were there on high alert? Did you catch yourself smiling as you recalled your past happy, fulfilling memories?

Next, kindly insert that PAST kindly recalled conglomerate into your present NOW. Positive reminiscence paves the way for your happier NOW.

To add even more savory spice to your well-being, get-it-done NOW recipe, add a wisp of well-being to your FUTURE, too.


Tell yourself:

“NOW and in my FUTURE, I look for the good. I notice WHAT WENT WELL! I prime myself for positivity, even with holiday stress on my radar. How fascinating, this life I create for myself. I accept my negative emotions. They are inevitable, but they are transient. Soon the holidays will be over. I enjoy this moment. I have the gift of self-confidence, gratitude and greater awareness always. My strengths are always with me. YES!”

Sometimes BEING in the NOW is great, but resurrecting your PAST and planning for a fulfilling, happy FUTURE adds warm depth, meaning, and more positivity coping in your NOW.

How interesting. As I was writing just now, a sweet memory popped up. I was 26.I remember sneaking my our dog, Sparky, into my dad’s hospital room, not long before he died. Before that rousing reunion, however, the head nurse busted Mom and me in the elevator. But before we could comment, she piped up with, “If my dad were in the shape yours is in, I would sneak his dog in too. Let me hold the door for you, after I check to see if the coast is clear!”. A little courage strength made Daddy’s day. Not to mention the nurse’s kindness.

Speaking of strengths, if you need more help to banish your Negative Noelle, ignite your critical/constructive thinking strength. Ask yourself, “What do I need to DO right NOW to feel empowered and fulfilled? To give myself permission to have great thoughts, behaviors, and emotions?” Solution: Gift yourself with one single daily action. Commit to completing just one thing. Super important, take the time to happily pat yourself on the back for getting your one single action completed. Then let yourself BE the more joyful person you deserve to be.

Rather than stress about the next thing on your to-do list, remind yourself again, “One thing at a time”. Remember to praise yourself after each accomplishment. Catch yourself smiling as you happily celebrate and shout out loud, “Done!” Repeat the process and zestfully (another strength!) whittle down your to-do list. What a cool way to banish your holiday mess.

Anther tip: Remember what David Allen said in his book by the same name, “Write It Down And Make It Happen“. Research shows writing down your task and seeing it visually increases your odds of accomplished your task. Have fun as you joyfully cross off each task completed. Want even more fun? Add “Get up and dance” or “Call a friend” to your to-do list in the midst of all the tough stuff you need to do. You deserve a reward midstream.

No matter how large your to-do list is in NOV, or for any month for that matter, all you can really do is one thing at a time. Do your one thing. Be grateful. And gift yourself with self-compassion. Savor your completion before you head to your next task.

As the Buddha said, “When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”



I took the photos just before Ken and I left our WI home. We are enjoying lovely Puerto Vallarta now, but it is still glorious autumn for most of you. From my house to yours, to my American friends, “Happy Thanksgiving.” To my other friends around our wondrous world, please know today, and everyday, I am grateful to you and appreciate our friendship. Namaste!

Hugs of love,