Matanzas inlet, st aug

I’m not much for clever planners, productivity apps or special efficiency software. I live by to-do lists. I love jotting down what I need to do on stationary or even a napkin (clearly, whatever is handy). I also love my paper planner. And, on some days, I get spontaneous and type in a text file. :)

While they’re helpful, sometimes, to-do lists have a way of obscuring everything else. We get so focused on checking off tasks — big or small — that we forget to look around us. We forget to savor. And breathe in what’s right in front of our eyes (ears, nose, hands).

What if in addition to a to-do list, we also created a “to-notice” list?

This is a term that popped into my head this week. But call it whatever you want. It’s just a simple and short list of several things you’d like to notice on any given day.

For instance, maybe you’d like to notice how your little one laughs. Or how the sun peeks through your window in the morning, and slowly slides up the room as the hours pass.

Basically, this could be anything big or small that you’d like to observe and savor. Something you’d like to remember and enjoy. Something that makes you happy or brings you comfort. For a few seconds, a minute or more.

If you’re not sure, here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • the sound of a loved one’s voice
  • the wind against your skin
  • the types of trees (and flowers) surrounding your home or office building
  • the shades of green on the leaves
  • the comfort of slipping under the covers
  • the smell of freshly brewed coffee
  • the smell of your body wash in the shower
  • the shapes of the clouds in the morning
  • how your cat hunts for lizards
  • the feel of grass under your bare feet
  • the feel of your lover’s skin
  • your breath
  • your reflection in the mirror
  • how your loved one smiles
  • how you smile
  • how your body feels throughout the day (bonus: set an alarm to go off every hour to remind you to check in with yourself)
  • the warmth of the sun on your face
  • the taste of dark chocolate

If you’d like, you can even devote a notebook to your lists. This way they’re all in one place to enjoy and look back on.

What will you put on your to-notice list?



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    Last reviewed: 14 Oct 2013

APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2013). This Weekend Create A To-Notice List. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 31, 2015, from




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Recent Comments
  • Margarita Tartakovsky, MS: @ Judi, you’re welcome! It’s my pleasure. :) Thank you for reading and...
  • Margarita Tartakovsky, MS: @ productive1, I’m glad it resonated with you!
  • productive1: I love the idea of making the kitchen into a calming meditation space. Great idea.
  • Judi: This was so helpful. I’m separated from my husband and wavering back and forth between trying to...
  • Margarita Tartakovsky, MS: @ Valerie, I love Jen’s writing, too. :) Thank you for commenting and sharing your...
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