How about a simple gut check of what really matters to you, and a moment to tap into your subconscious to recognize what you care about.
This exercise is a simple spin on the classic word game Mad Libs, while not quite as ridiculous or verging on the raunchy (although I guess that depends on your goals…).
First, grab a pen and paper and take a minute to answer the questions below:
What Gives Your Day Balance?
(You can put down as many responses for each question as ring true for you.)
1. When I ______________________, the whole day is a little calmer. (Examples: Meditate, talk to a friend, read, plan dinner ahead.)
2. I would really like to know more about ______________. (Examples: World affairs, history, politics, sports.)
3. I used to love when I had time to ___________________. (Examples: Garden, play the piano, hike, laugh.)
4. When I _______________________, I’m not so insulated in my world. (Examples: Read the newspaper, do volunteer work.)
5. It’s scary to think about ___________________ but I know it’s important for my future. (Examples: Financial planning, next career move.)
6. Sometimes the whole day goes by and I realize I haven’t ___________________. (Examples: Spent one-on-one time with kids, talked with spouse, had quiet time.)
7. At this particular time, ______________________ needs more of my attention. (Examples: Sick friend, parenting challenge, project deadline.)
8. I’m finally feeling ready to tackle ___________________. (Examples: The garage, photos, learning to paint.)
9. When I avoid __________________ for too long, it’s way too overwhelming. (Examples: Desk work, organizing, purging.)
10. I can get so lost in ________________, I’ll try to stick to 10 minutes at a time. (Examples: E-mail, snail mail, Facebook.)
Now take a look at your answers.
These words are meant to be your own personal guide to what you really care about on a daily basis. They are just as important as anything on your to-do list because they matter to YOU – much more than “pick up dry cleaning” or “get oil changed”. So whether you touch on each one every day, or just a few, you can do a little of what matters every day…10 minutes at a time.
Wondering what to do with your answers?
Jot down your fill-in-the-blanks (such as “read”, “photos”, “laugh”) in a notebook or on a Post-it note to remind you what’s important. Then tick through the items on your list a few minutes at a time. Copy your list and check it off daily.
- If your goal is “laugh more” — call an old friend while you’re sitting in traffic.
- “Know more about current events” is a goal? — get up a few minutes early and read the newspaper with a cup of coffee.
- “Staying on top of desk work” important? — work your way through the inbox while the kids are doing homework.
- “Learn to paint” — check the recreation center and local art schools for times, cost, supplies needed, etc.
Need some ideas on how to divide a project into 10-minute chunks? Write a comment here and we’ll brainstorm…