Making the Most of Every Day

Posted by Heather Kelly on

There are so many things to do in a day. Write, day job, consulting, tasks for other projects, meetings, more meetings, read, exercise, care for beloved pets, work for boards of directors, other volunteer work, enjoy time with husband/friends/family - oh yeah and rest.

You who know me know that I am an obsessive scheduler. I use my digital calendar all the time and am constantly refining the timing and amount of time allocated to the items that repeat daily or weekly. I am trying to make the most of every day. And here’s the thing I just realized: I am trying get the most from every day, not into every day.

There is a massive difference. I am not actually trying to cram-jam more into every minute. (Though that happens.) I am actually trying to make space. For everything I want to make space and time for in my life. And that includes rest, and allocated but unstructured time that I simply call think time or brain defrag time. You might call it chill out time. Different from time allocated to meditation or hanging out with friends, as that is a thing you are doing.

I don’t love the language of “get the most from” but what I mean is this: to schedule life in such as way to that leads to feel satisfied, a sense of accomplishment, yes 'happy' with the day. Filling the day with a bunch of meaningless but necessary tasks will not do that. Filling the day, each day, with things I will feel good about having done, will. What are those things? They are the things that are most important and most meaningful. The things I feel my like my best self when doing them. I don’t yet feel like I can only do tasks and activities I enjoy – there’s other stuff I have to do too. As long as I have given time to one or two things I feel good about, I feel like its been a good day.

Each workday starts with this in my calendar (ideas borrowed from other people): “Take care of the toad (the one thing I can do today that will make tomorrow better).” Yes, I actually have that typed into my calendar. That text stays there when that one thing gets typed in. So the calendar entry might look like this for that hour: Take care of the toad (the one thing I can do today that will make tomorrow better): Finish the [X] Strategy. Or: Take care of the toad (the one thing I can do today that will make tomorrow better): Put the next step for [x] in place.

Whatever it is for you, the idea is to do the most important thing, the one that actually makes a difference first, before the day gets caught up in a gazillion other tasks that need to be done, surprise requests from your boss or clients, and other stuff that just happens each day. This is part of how I ensure I feel satisfied and happy with each day.  What works for you?

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