Getting Off the To-Do List Treadmill to Live Your Life with Mission and Purpose

Does your life sometimes feel like one never-ending to-do list? With so many demands on our time and attention, we often focus only on the tasks right in front of us, instead of taking a step back to ask how God wants us to use our gifts and talents to serve Him and our neighbor. But how do we even begin to do that?

Lisa Mladinich, a Catholic life coach, recently stopped by Morning Air® to help listeners walk through the process of getting off the to-do list treadmill and prayerfully living a life of purpose and mission.

Lisa explained that to-do lists aren’t a bad thing, but we can be tempted to focus on them too much, and lose focus of something much more important.

“We know there are certain things that we have to do every day. Task lists can be very important to just prioritize, hopefully prayerfully, what we need to do each day,” she said. “As Americans, I think that our can-do spirit and our sense of the value of productivity can overtake our lives so that our lives turn into task lists. So we’re focused outward most of the time instead of focused inward. And I don’t mean in a self-centered way, but in that place in our souls where Christ dwells and where the Holy Spirit speaks to us and guides an authentic life.”

Lisa encouraged listeners to take on a new perspective, looking to the lives of the saints rather than competing in the Productivity Olympics with our peers. Lisa pointed out, “St. Catherine of Siena said, ‘If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world ablaze.’ She didn’t say, ‘If you burn yourself out having an endless stack of task lists, day after day after day, just running on that treadmill, that’s going to somehow set the world ablaze.’ That’s not what happens. We burn out rather than lighting up.”

So how do we change our perspective and start focusing on our mission, our purpose, and using the gifts God has given us? Lisa shared a simple exercise to help put your life into focus.

“I have a simple formula for you,” she explained. “We ask ourselves three questions:

  • What do I value? That’s asking what’s important to me and writing it out in a few sentences.
  • What strengths and gifts do I want to bring to the world? Not what can I bring. There’s a lot of things we can bring, but what do I really deeply desire to bring to the world.
  • What groups, or causes, or individuals do I want to impact with my life in a positive way?

“So then we can write it out as a mission statement,” Lisa said. “This is a rough draft, a great starting point for any time in our life when we are discerning. Whether it’s a relationship with a potential spouse, or a business partner, or just our own personal work. So we write it out as:

Because I value                  , I will use my gifts and talents for                    to positively impact the lives of                   .

So it’s values, strengths and gifts, and who you want to impact positively. And once you do that, then you start to clarify goals. And hopefully you’re doing this very prayerfully and designing steps for moving into an authentic life, centered in God, that you can really love for is greater glory.”

Listen to the full conversation with Lisa Mladinich below:

Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. Eastern/4:00 – 6:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.