Sometimes life’s little tantrums make it hard to keep your equanimity. You get sick, you face one problem after another, your goals stall, your relationships struggle…
You can start to feel disorganized, frustrated and despondent – unless you have a plan for keeping yourself afloat. I suggest a daily checklist of things that will help you feel as though you’re hanging in there and doing okay.
Keep the checklist simple and achievable. It shouldn’t add to your sense of falling behind.
Here’s my personal checklist of things I aim to do every single day. I’m not perfect at doing everything every day, but simply having the checklist helps me focus when I’m not sure what to do with myself.
Use mine, or create your own.
- Make your bed
Don’t underestimate the sabotaging power of an unmade bed. It sends a negative message to your subconscious. Make your bed daily and you’ll form a habit of doing it fast (mine takes me about 3 minutes). It will mark the threshold into starting the day well, and provide a welcoming sanctuary when the day is over.
- Deal with the urgent
Every day, scan your emails, mail, noticeboard, phone messages, etc, for anything that demands prompt attention. Matters like notices for school, renewals and bills due for payment can become time-consuming or expensive problems later. Avoid those problems by dealing with the urgent today.
- Get some exercise
Take a gym class, go for a walk, lift tins of soup, lunge around your house while on the phone – do anything that gets you moving. And if you have a sedentary life, move as often as you can. Stop making excuses (no one is listening) and just do it.
- Have something to look forward to
Plan something that makes you happy every single day. I can’t wait to get out of bed every morning because I love sipping coffee and doing the crossword. And I love reading in bed at night. Your daily treats could be playing Angry Birds on your iPhone, taking a bath, making your favourite tea after dinner, listening to tunes – anything you enjoy and look forward to.
- Eat vegetables
They help you stay slim and healthy, so eat them! Add salad or vegetables to your meals wherever you can.
- Do something nice for someone else
This is a lovely habit to get into. Can you give someone a genuine compliment? Offer encouragement or compassion? Give a gift or do a favor? The important thing here is to choose things you can do lovingly – not things that feel like an imposition or burden. Find one to do every day.
- Achieve something productive and/or meaningful
Can you make progress on an important project, take time with a loved one, take action toward a goal? Forget busywork and instead focus on achieving something every day – big or small – that gives you a sense of meaning and/or achievement.
- Tidy up at night
Spending 10 minutes every night doing a quick tidy will make all the difference to the way you feel as you head to bed, and especially to the way you feel when you start the next day. Keep it simple – even if all you do is wash the dishes, put toys in a toy bin and clothes in a basket, and use a hand-vac to scoop up the day’s crumbs, you’ll feel pretty pleased with yourself.
- Feel grateful
Psych research has shown that counting your blessings boosts your happiness, so make it a ritual to reflect on the good things in your life every day. Do it as you eat breakfast in the morning or while you brush your teeth at night – but make it a habit. Got all your limbs? Have a nice house, good friends or a talent for ikebana? Lucky you!
- Make a list for tomorrow
Before you head to bed, make a quick list of things to do and remember tomorrow. This will get them out of your head so you sleep better, help you feel organized, and give you a map for the next day.
Ready to start using your daily checklist? Write or print yours out and put it somewhere you’ll see it when you wake tomorrow.