3 Small Ways to Make Today 27% Better

Photo: Andre Hunter/Unsplash

We all have days that feel like they’re going nowhere. You can’t seem to get a grip on things or accomplish anything meaningful. You’re simply stuck. If today is one of those days, don’t call it a wash just yet. Here are three small things you can do right now to jolt yourself into a better headspace and turn things around — or at the very least, make your day 27% better.

Block out time for a completable task

This task should be something substantial — either part of a project that moves you closer to a goal or a to-do list item that has been weighing on your mind for some time.

Now comes the most important step: Estimate how long it will take you and block out time in your day’s schedule for it. Oftentimes, we fail to finish things simply because we don’t understand how much time they’ll take. We’ll either start something, discover we’ve taken on more than we have time for, and get fed up, or we believe something will take us so long that we don’t even try.

Create a realistic time block for the task, and allow your schedule to revolve around it. You’ll have at least one win for the day.

Prioritize physical activity (even just a little)

A friend of mine was diagnosed with lymphoma earlier this year. As he began chemotherapy, he made a commitment to himself: He would do at least some physical activity every single day. There are photos of him doing walking lunges around the cancer ward while hooked up to an IV. It didn’t matter if the chemo made him feel terrible on some days — he still pushed through. He knew that being active would give him momentum, physically and emotionally. (Thankfully, he’s now in remission.)

It’s a good practice for all of us. Getting your heart pumping and engaging your muscles is about more than staying fit. It boosts your mood, breaks up the monotony of desk work, and helps propel you to tackle other tasks during the day.

Do one small thing to prevent a bigger issue

Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the Tao Te Ching:

Deal with difficulties while they are still easy.
Handle the great while it is still small.
The difficult problems in life
Always start off being simple.
Great affairs always start off being small.

Ninety-five percent of the big problems we face in our daily lives start out as small problems. The issues build slowly over time, so they’re hard to notice. Then when we finally do see them, it seems like they’ve come out of nowhere.

Get in the habit of tackling some small preventative tasks every day. You might:

  • Wash the few plates and cups in the sink before you have a mountain of dirty dishes that you don’t even want to go near.
  • Pull a few weeds so they don’t become uncontrollable.
  • Call a client to check on how things are going in order to prevent a possible “last-minute” crisis.
  • Review the conversations you’ve had in the last week and make sure you’ve captured any possible actions or issues that may have come out of them.

When you do these things, you’ll get an immediate sense of relief and also become motivated to be proactive in even more areas in your life.

Author of “The Wabi-Sabi Way” and “Be, Think, Do”. Subscribe to my newsletter “Woolgathering”: https://goo.gl/UhzUYL.

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