To-Do List Wisdom

Some of us write out our to-do lists each day. Others of us are more creative (less organized) and we keep our lists floating around in our brains or just fly by the seat of our pants.

Either way, each of us has things we need to get done each day.

Yesterday my 13-year-old, Brooke, tweeted her to-do list.

And y’all, the preciousness of her list made my heart dance with joy. And it challenged me.

She’s a relationship driven gal. I’m a task oriented gal.

Neither is better. However, I’m challenged when I look at Brooke’s list that she puts as much intentionality into building her relationships each day as she does accomplishing her tasks.

I really like this.

Are you ready to see the cutest, sweetest to-do list ever written?

Are you more task oriented or relationship oriented?  What to-do items do you need to get more intentional with — tasks or relationship building?

If it’s a task, leave a comment today committing to accomplishing or at least tackling a part of this to-do item today. And if it’s a relationship, how might you invest some intentional time into this person’s life today?

I can’t wait to read your comments.

And I can’t wait to squeeze this little sunshine of mine named Brooke when she gets home from school today. See? Relationship building!


  1. says

    i love this. its so beautiful. i shall try to remember to add relationship tasks to my lists from now on. today, my husband and i are going to a counselling session today. that is my to do list item for today on relationship i think 😀

  2. says

    Girl, this made my heart so happy. What a precious soul. I’m a relationship soul with strong task oriented side. I need to get more intentional about my relationship building. I’m calling a friend tonight and setting up a fun lunch date for this week! Tell Brooke I said thank you for being such a sweet inspiration!

  3. Heather P says

    When I compare my list with hers, it would appear I am more task oriented. However, part of the motive behind some of my tasks are relational. Maybe I need to re-work how I do my list. Hugs from TX.

  4. says

    That is very precious……the heart of a little girl. I did notice she put on her list take meds. I’m very passionate about helping young people and I’m very concerned about the amount of medications being taken by kids under the age of 18 in our world today. I encourage you to check out the website above and learn more about the options. Physicians are not educated on nutrition, though I understand this is slowly changing. You can learn more about this also at Pastor Rick Warrens site http://www.thedanielplan.com. Parents, the results are life-changing and thousands of lives have been impacted all over the world for 24 years. If you and your children can address health issues by helping our bodies heal the way God designed them to you’ll understand people are getting off medications and living a healthier and better quality of life. Meds have their place, but you deserve to know ALL the options. God bless your journey…

  5. Marcie says

    Why is it that when I’m in the hard seasons of life, my neighbors always appear to be monsters…?

    Relationally, I know the Lord has been pressing me about “loving my neighbor as thyself” a lot these days, which is particularly hard when I’m not too crazy about me at this point either… (and apparently neither are a lot of people…).

    I’m going to be more intentional about being more positive, smiling more and hopefully radiating more joy and a bit more of Christ to these people, even when my flesh wants to do the exact opposite. I must remember, they are not my enemies, and I may be the only Jesus they’ll ever see.

    This began when I very candidly apologized to a neighbor today for lashing out at her when I thought she was talking about me behind my back and I just happened to walk into the courtyard as this was taking place. Talk about walking into a trap.

    I humbled myself and told her that I was battling with depression, that I wasn’t quite myself these days and that I, as a Christian, knew better and hoped she could just extend some grace. Talk about humility…

    Keepin’ it real in the neighborhood…

  6. Shirley says

    This is amazing! We can learn so much from our children. I see now where I want my to-do list to have a balance of tasks AND relationships now. We need to strive to do both. I’m so happy I have begun my morning with this post from you!

  7. Mark says

    I was always task oriented and i have lost my insight but by reading the list of Brooke i became so positive today that I would like to toggle some issues i’ve put aside last year. Brooke you have changed my live today by just reading true your to-do-list.

  8. says

    I am task-oriented, and thankfully, pretty good at “getting the job done.” Right now, though, I need to work on relationship with my 8 year old daughter. I’ve gotten into a bad, horrible habit of constantly correcting her for EVERYTHING (chew with your mouth closed, sit like a lady, clean off your desk, what were you thinking?…) and it’s put distance between us. My sweet husband pointed this out the other day and it just hurts my heart that I’ve become so locked into the bad habit of criticism that I’ve quit loving on that little blessing like I’m supposed to do…like I want to do, more than anything. So, today’s list: spend time with God, be a good wife, love on my kids. 🙂 (And the rest will get done, too!)

  9. Lisa says

    Precious! Love that girl and I don’t even know her!
    Imagine, if on the day we die, Jesus actually has us turn in our iphones! What would be on my agenda for the last day of my life???? I would want sweet Brooke’s task-list on that day for sure!!!!!

  10. Erin Davig says

    Loved your post this morning on Proverbs 31 – LOVED it – honest and true – thank you! I forwarded it to my dear friends as it is so encouraging to know “God can handle our honesty” – very true – he already knows so why not talk with him about it?! Thank you for sharing – made my heavy heart feel a touch lighter today. Thanks!

  11. Renee says

    I am so interested in exploring the concept of task oriented vs people oriented as it relates to Jesus’ view on the subject. I know you say neither is better, but since I am a Martha too, I can speak for myself when I say I suspect that He wants us to love, not hustle. I always hustle, all day, every day. I want to be more like Mary, but I am so task oriented, like you. I would love to see more on this topic…

    • Kari says

      I too am like Martha, very task driven and want to be more intentional about relationship building. Everytime I catch myself “being” Martha, I say Lord please help me to be more like Mary. I stop what I’m doing and sit with my family or do something Mary would do. Lysa I would love to see more on this topic too….Lord Jesus, help us Martha’s become more like Mary!

  12. Renee says

    Ps my littlest one, Charlotte, is just like me; when I go to pick her up after teaching preschool in the mornings, she doesn’t run to me to hug like our oldest used to. She runs toward me, bends over, and repeats “shoes, shoes” looking for her little shoes because she knows she must complete this task before going home. Maybe it is all we can do to mentally assign ourselves different task lists when we are going over our musts for each day…? Clearly, it is innate in some of us. 🙂

  13. Dawn says

    I am in tears right now. I did not take my prayer time this morning because I was angry with God and confused about unanswered prayer. Then I read your “Encouragement for Today” on my daily Bible Gateway Email. You reminded me of my very favorite scripture: Jeremiah 29:13. And so, even in my brokenness, I will seek Him with my whole heart – including the broken parts. Thank you so much for allowing God to use you to encourage my heart and my life today. May He bless you GREATLY!

  14. Barb says

    Wow! I’m a list kind of gal, too, but to schedule positive relationship builders is something I never thought of! Am going to start doing this. Hopefully what I have to put on a list now for intentional good stuff will become such a habit, that maybe I won’t need lists to be more encouraging in the future. You rock Brooke! Thanks for sharing Lysa…

  15. Stacy says

    I am relationship oriented. Tasks scare me… especially big ones that I’m not motivated to complete. I rarely make lists because at the end of the day when it’s not as complete as I’d like for it to be, I get discouraged. Today, I’m going to clean the kitchen table. Yes, I need to clean the living room and family room and my bedroom and mop and plant those flowers in the driveway but today, I’m committing to that one thing!

  16. ANGIE says

    What a Blessing she is!!!! Im so task oriented it’s ridiculous…
    Brooe just taught me a lesson

  17. Jennifer Goff says

    This was adorable! I am such a Martha and really creative (and really not organized). This was such an encouragement. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Carrie says

    me…task. I would love to be more relationship oriented and struggle with that part of my life. Love this list, reminds me of my little Allie, she is 9. When I asked her about her day in 3rd grade, she tells me all the ways she was a good friend today!! I have to specifically ask about things like spelling and math tests.

  19. says

    WoW! I love, love, love it when a younger generation can teach me such profound things. I am a list maker & majorly a Martha! God gave me my new year’s resolution from that story…Don’t be so busy doing the good things, that you miss the best thing. Since I can get so caught up on doing the good things (I rather enjoy them!), I am really drawn to the idea of making building and nurturing relationships intentional and writing it down to insure it gets done! I am going to incorporate that into my TTD’s today!
    Thanks for sharing! You’ve got a great girl there!

  20. Geri jones says

    Good morning,

    My relationships need more intentions. I host a women’s Bible study but I need to talk to the women more in bewteen the week. The study is almost done and I am looking for a summer study to do. Any ideas? 8-10 weeks would be great.

    Have a blessed Easter!

  21. Feather says

    I am more task oriented. I struggle with nurturing relationships with family and friends. If I tried that’s all I would do in a day with as many family members and friends I have that need nurturing in our relationships. Recent health scares/diagnosis with family and close friends have made me take a step back and think hard on this. I really want to develop a desire to connect with all those in my life that I care about most!!! I see a new prayer headed to my prayer list!!! Thanks Lysa for sharing this!!

  22. says

    Your daughter has such wisdom as such as young age, praise God! Law and Love = Works and Relationships. We must have both to have a balance – all law is condemnation and fear, all love is an anything goes attitude and can encourage laziness. A love list is an awesome way to balance the task list! LOVE it!

  23. Tina says

    Thank you Lysa and Brooke for helping me to contemplate this question. I am both a list maker and a relationship builder. Today I need to complete my financial disclosure for my candidacy to my local county board. I also called a friend to see what she was thinking about today and will also check in with my 19 year old on how she is feeling after meds with the sty in her eye. Thank-you!

  24. Pam says

    Wow! I teach special education in an elementary public school. I am always looking for ways to help my students look outside themselves and their own needs/wants and think of others. I am going to incorporate this idea into a writing/character building lesson for my students. Thanks for the inspiration, Brooke!

  25. says

    Yesterday was a relationship day. I had lunch with a friend, spent the afternoon with another friend and then had a Venti green tea in the evening with another sweet friend. Today was going to be all about the tasks I need to get done before the weekend but so far… I’ve only done one task & then talked to my daughter on the phone. Guess I’m more of a relational person! Then again… isn’t Jesus all about the relationship and not so much about the tasks?

  26. Lisa Cox says

    I love your daughter’s list and am thankfuk to read it. My house needs cleaning, bushes need pruning, etc., but my list reads like, “send cards to…, e-mail …., etc.”. Sometimes I feel like people think I send too many cards and don’t do enough of the ‘other stuff’. Give her a hug for me and thank you for sharing this awesome list!!!

  27. says

    I have a challenge everyday, and with the spirit of god that wisdom kicks in.I have a 16yearold daughter. She”s unique in her on way but there are times that she can say something that will have me saying ok Jesus you said you will never leave me. I try so hard and I do a good job , with listening but some times I say lord let me lay hands on her.Then I remember a word that I say in time of a battle peace be still. It works for me
    God bless you

  28. BettyAnn says

    This really struck me, as well, since I am definitely task oriented (just like my mom and her mom before her ~ genetic or trained?). I know that when I do occasionally (inspirationally?) make a deliberate effort to be relational, it feels very right and good ~ I feel blessed and like I’ve blessed others. But I think we shouldn’t be too quick to imply that we are pleasing God when we are relational and not so much when we are task-oriented. Jesus was absolutely about relationships, but He was equally about tasks ~ His active obedience in doing the Father’s will, and our “good works… prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” He has called us to love one another, but He has also called us to be wives, mothers, doctors, managers, employees, etc. Perhaps we need strive for balance, like with many things in the Christian walk (mercy & justice, etc.). Yes, we are called to love, but often that takes the shape of a to-do list. That said, tonight I’m going to set aside the demands on my time as a wife, mom-of-8, home schooler, tutor, accountant and visit with a friend to spend time in prayer for our families and our church. It won’t get anything checked off my to-do list, but it will help bring that needed balance that will make me more productive AND loving for my family tomorrow! Thanks for the post that made me think about this today <3

  29. Nancy says

    I am so impressed that she put her relationships on her “to do” list! I am very task oriented and will plan to do that in the future. I think people are more important than my chores, any day! Thank you Brooke for your inspiration!

  30. Carri says

    I’m a tasker. I find it easier to work on tasks and see a finished project ( when I actually get one done) than working on relationships. I’ve always felt like I’m “bugging” someone that is as busy as I am. I do have 1 friend that feels the same way that I do and we completely understand how hard it is to work on relationships with others. That’s why spending time with her is so easy. Lulls in conversations are not ackward.

  31. Grandi says

    I’m extremely task-oriented but never accomplish much and feel burdened by all that’s undone… but I will drop the lists without a 2nd thought, anytime I can talk with, hang out with, or do something helpful for, someone I love. Yeah. It’s just that important. <3

  32. ChristinaK says

    I would love to have more a relationship to do list than a task list. I am a task lister and think my task might be easier to accomplish with the relational tasks accomplished first.
    My washing, dusting, vacuuming, ironing, and others wifely chores can wait a bit while I tell write a note to my daughter and put in her backpack. While I leave a love letter on my husband’s dash in his car. While I call my mom with words of encouragement. Thank you Jesus for all of these ideas.

  33. says

    Oh, Lysa…I love this. So so much. First, a brief pause for the beautiful young woman Brooke is becoming. I just can’t believe she’s the baby of the family!!! I float between task oriented and relationship driven…so I’ve got two for today. When it comes to relationships…I am going to surprise a sweet family that has taken me in as their own with flowers. My task…get my New Testament paper written so I can enjoy my friends and family Easter weekend!

  34. Michelle says

    How precious, this falls under the joy of Motherhood.
    Thank the Lord, he has along with her parents have fed her soul!
    Caring and with compassion for others is how God wants us to be.
    I have a daughter that also made me so proud last week when a teacher noticed her for her grace and humility. She received a student of the month award in her Senior year in H.S. I am both task and relationship oriented. We are truly blessed with the miracle of having children. Thank you God for loaning them to us to brighten our days! PS, I have been reading your Encouragements for Today articles for a couple of years now, and I can totally relate to the struggles and joy we have in our lives. Thank you for inspiring me to see things differently when I most need to!
    God Bless,

  35. says

    So inspiring!!! I wrote a post on my blog about it! To live intentionally cultivating and nurturing relationships! What a great way to live Heb. 10:24. I also can’t wait to teach it to my kids – instead of just completing me centered tasks to have an others focused purpose.

  36. Sue says

    What a beautiful girl she is! And what a great idea. I am a list person too and a task rather than relationship person but what a great idea to blend the two! Thanks for showing that we can put our relationships on our to-do list. Shouldn’t they be at the top anyway?

  37. says

    very interesting, I am both due to my personality and the roles I play. But love your daughter’s list and have learnt a thing or two, thnks.

  38. Heather says

    Can you say “CONVICTED”? I’m getting up from my computer and adding a relationship-building item to my to-do list for tomorrow!!! Our kids really do have so much wisdom. Way to go, Lysa, for taking a break from your tasks to read about and appreciate Brooke’s heart!

  39. DEE DEE says

    Good morning, I am a person who has to stick to this routine everyday. I start my day with a workout at the gym 1:30. I workout for 1 1/2 hours. I am leaving the house at 4:15 am to go to work. I walked anothoer hour then I start my worked day at 6:30 am. I seat in my office and read the daily bread and the scriputures for today and pray.This is my everyday schedule for the last 2 years.
    Thank you for your inspirational story and God Bless.

  40. Patti says

    What an inspiring and motivational insight into the normal “to do list”.

    I just heard Lysa for the first time at ONU Ladies on Saturday. All I can say is “WOW”. I laughed, I cried, I sang, and I prayed for God to reveal His will in my life.

    I am in a new season of my life, having lost my husband of 42 years after an extended illness which required almost constant care on my part. I have always wanted to write and or speak and have done some of both throughout my life. I was particularly led by the Holy Spirit to check into the “SheSpeaks” conference – it appears I may be a little too late, but I’m praying that God will open at least a door or a window for me to be able to attend this conference this year. Please keep me posted on any developments and possible openings – I will be checking the website every day!!!!

    Thank you for sharing Brooke’s delightful view on how to make “relationships” an every day priority.

    Thank you for sharing Brooke’s list and her delightful way of handing

  41. Carolyn says

    I’m definitely a relationship type of gal. I love to hug & help. I only make list when it’s for groceries & when packing for a trip. When we get busy in doing things around the home to keep it running smooth it makes my heart happy because we came together as a family to get things done.

    It’s lovely to read your daughters to do list. 🙂

    Sending blessings your way!

  42. Rita says

    PLEASE give Brooke a hug for me too!!! Golly, I just wish I could write out a to-do list. I have been very ill for several months but that has mostly been resolved AND I started Seminary 100% online in August. So I NEED to be VERY task-oriented, but here lately, I’ve been ME-oriented. My house is an ABSOLUTE WRECK and now, today, class has started once again, and I’m behind already. I can’t find ANYTHING in my house. I have 2 new kittens who are clepto’s: 2 thumb drives are missing, ONE black shoe is missing, and who knows what else is missing. I can’t wait to find their stash(es)!!! PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!!!!!
    P.S. – I have paid for a website and hosting it and wanted to create it and be a blogger but that’s been 2 years ago and it’s not started even yet. See what I mean!! :>)