The following is a guest post by Harry Guinness. Harry is a web designer, photographer, publisher, entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and International Man of Mystery. He's also a fan of self-experimentation (to the occasional dismay of his family and friends) and skill acquisition. You can find him over at his website (where this post was originally published) and follow him on Twitter.
For the past month I have been making my days awesome. This is the simple trick I’ve been doing to make it happen.
As soon as I wake up, I enter into Day One three things that, if I achieved them, would make today awesome. They have to be things that I have control over; “it would be awesome if I wrote a blog post on how to make your days awesome” and not “It would be awesome if it was sunny today”. Then in the evening before I go to sleep, I look over what I wrote down that morning and consider whether I did everything I could to make my day awesome. It’s that simple.
The important thing is not to think of it as a to-do list, it isn’t. A to-do list implies things that have to be done where as these should be things that would make you feel great if they were done. You wouldn’t put “it’d be awesome if I see Gravity with Yusuf” on a to-do list! If finishing the financial reports for your boss won’t make your day awesome, don’t put it down. If however, finally clearing your plate of that goddamned financial report for your headwrecking boss, maybe put it down!
Another idea for things to write down is steps towards your goals or reminders to engage in new habits. If you are trying to learn a Spanish, writing down, “it would be awesome if I spent half an hour learning Spanish” makes you all the more likely to achieve it. Likewise, if you are on a diet, writing “it would be awesome if I didn’t snack in the office today” puts it front and centre in your day.
Here are a few example of things I wrote down this past month.
- It’d be awesome if I train twice today.
- It’d be awesome if I clear the pile of clothes from the corner of my room!
- It’d be awesome if I see Peter later.
- It’d be awesome if I eat well.
- It’d be awesome if I finish Malcolm Gladwell’s new book.
This works because I go about my day, already thinking about what would make it great. By waking in the morning and addressing it, I begin to act in a way that fits in with what would make it awesome. If I write down that it would be awesome if I get to the gym, I am already thinking of what time and what I have to do to get it to happen hours before I get there. This simple idea ends up making my days awesome.
This month has been one of the most productive of the year. I got a book ready for publishing (Encircle Africa by Ian Packham), I trained loads, I read more, I made more of an effort to see my friends and family, I’ve been tidier, I’ve eaten better, I’ve put two new potential business idea in motion, and all because when I am fresh and optimistic first thing in the morning, I think how great it would be if I had a chicken salad for dinner, and don’t leave that decision til when I’m annoyed and hungry at 8pm!
And in the evening when I look over what I wrote that morning and I’m annoyed that I didn’t get to the gym, I realise that I only have myself to blame. I’d started the day knowing that it would make me feel good and I had to take the steps to make it happen; if I failed to take those steps the only one stopping my day being awesome is me. You can be damn sure that I go to the gym the next day!
Photo credit: nighthawk7 via SXC.HU