The Everyday To-Do List

On a usual day I like to start the morning – after the usual waking up, ingesting a glass of water, and making a pot of coffee – by making a to-do list.

There are good articles all over the web regarding to-do lists, like this excellent piece laying out some to-do list dos and don’ts over at Forbes. My casual research tells me that to-do lists are advocated by highly productive people as a way that you too can be highly productive.

And just so we understand how this fits into this blog’s theme, on gym days, I put “Workout” at the top of the list. That’s a no-brainer. But a to-do list is about creating strength: all kinds. Creating strength requires action of some sort.

I find to-do lists especially helpful as a way to let me know that I’m getting things done – because I am! – but you have to be careful not to make the list too long or spend too much time on something that you might not be able to get done in one day. Then you will disappoint yourself and possibly even defeat the purpose of the list.

One thing I do is set a time-limit on certain things. Also, if I don’t finish everything on the list (not counting stuff for which there is a strict deadline), I don’t beat myself up but just add that item to the top of the next day’s list.

So, I make out the list, though I do not include things like “eat lunch” or “brush teeth,” but I do sometimes include things I might do anyway, like “make dinner.” I like to use a pen on a half or quarter reused sheet of paper. I keep this with me or nearby throughout the day and check things off as I complete them.

Here is a sample to-do list:

You get the idea. (This is a weekend list, by the way.)

I’m not sure why, but I feel the need to point out that the first thing on the to-do list can’t be “Make a to-do list,” since then you’d end up in something of an infinite regress and never get anything done!

One To-Do List to Rule Them All!

Now, one morning a few weeks ago I was feeling particularly down on myself. Maybe this happens to you. Maybe it happens to most of us. Maybe it happens to all of us. Whatever the case, it happens. I was feeling like I had no prospects, that I was letting everyone down, that my past career choices had been wrong, that writing was a waste of time, ad nauseum.

So, to pull myself up and out of my mild despair and not let myself slide into the old slough of despond – on that day, prior to making my usual to-do list, I decided to make an Everyday To-Do List. This list is not really a checklist of discrete tasks that I need to perform. It is, rather, a motivational tool to get me going and maybe help get myself through a tough day.

Over the past weeks I have added to it, and I noticed there is some overlap that might require some editing. I leave it to anyone’s interpretation what these mean, because to explain them would rob them of some of their force.

Plan for Today – and Everyday!

  • Crush it!
  • Impress yourself!
  • Be kind!
  • Be strong!
  • Stretch, flex, breathe, relax!
  • Expect great things!
  • Be excellent!

Well, that’s it. I will have this list nearby and refer to it as needed. I want to make sure that I realize I’m doing okay, and that I am creating my strength, in my own way. I hope you as well continue your journey of strength creation, and I humbly welcome your thoughts and comments.

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