Recently I was browsing the web looking for some productive morning routine inspiration to coax me out of my groggy winter rut. I read article after article of people detailing their “10 Most Important Habits for Success!” and “5 AM Productive Morning Routine!”. During my search, there was one concept from a video that really struck a chord with me which, to my surprise, had nothing to do with productivity. This creator, in addition to his daily to-do list, spoke about two other lists he made every morning: To-Be and To-Feel lists! These lists outlined the type of person he wanted to be, as he did the things he needed to do.

Like many of us, I start my day creating a to-do list, detailing all of the tasks I need to accomplish for my work, my home, and myself. Each day I set out to tick off as many items as possible, as quickly as possible. This daily ritual, although it helps my productivity, can sometimes make me feel robotic, like I am merely a human-doing instead of a human-being. When I reach the end of the day and I see any un-ticked boxes remaining I feel a sense of defeat. The day ruled me, I did not rule the day.

            These days it seems more and more that the pressure to perform, produce, and perfect is increasing. Our value feels largely determined by what we can complete, each new milestone we reach quickly replaced with another. For the average person this pressure can be crushing. Imagine what it is like for those in our society who have developmental, learning, mental health, or physical barriers to “productivity”. From the perspective of someone who works with individuals with these barriers, I see this emphasis on productivity as an ableist and privileged measure of worth. I would love to see a shift in our society from valuing mostly what people do, to valuing who they are and their unique qualities, thereby contributing to a wonderfully diverse and inclusive world.  Being a contributing member of society doesn’t have to mean completing the most work. People can contribute compassion, humour, generosity, sensitivity, charisma – none of which are tasks on a list.

After watching this video I decided this was a practice I wanted to adopt into my morning routine. Here is a taste of my “to-be” and “to-feel” lists.


  • Curious
  • Empathetic
  • Open-minded
  • Creative


  • Grateful
  • Connected
  • Peaceful
  • Inspired

As I have adopted this into my morning routine, I have begun to notice that on the days I have not done everything I set out to do I feel less defeated. I see these other two lists and am reminded that it is okay; I am more than what I accomplish.

I would encourage you to give this practice a try for yourself. Connect each morning to who you are and who you want to be, tackling each new day with intention.

If you do give this a try for yourself, comment on this post and let me know how it went!