Flights need to be booked. Kate needs to be enrolled in summer camp. Your mammogram needs to be scheduled. Your to do list is endless.

You know what needs to get done because things are in their very specific pile (or maybe a lot of piles), in an extensive mental list (keeping you up at night), or stored in a great app, like Teux Deux. Whatever your method, the list is there but you aren’t actually getting any of these things done.


I recently read Tools of Titans by the local San Francisco genius, Tim Ferris. He interviews leaders across a variety of trades (e.g. artists, athletes, Tony Robbins!). While compiling the book, Tim noticed a major theme among his guests - they promote the power of “priming your morning.” 

Based on his recommendation, I have tried to “prime” mine. I have tried waking up early on a regular basis (still have big ambitions of this) and writing in a 5-minute journal. While I loved the idea of the process, the reality was the whole concept wasn’t working for me…but some of it was. And I realized, this process does not have to be all or nothing.   


I find I really like two parts of the 5-minute journal process:

1.     Write 3 things for which I am grateful.
2.     Write 3 things that would make today great.

Being as grateful as possible for all things is part of my mantra so this daily practice was “easy-ish” to incorporate. Sometimes completing a form or making a doctor’s appointment can make me feel like I conquered the world. So I put those lingering to-do-list items on my "what would make today great list" and guess what? A few more things started getting done.

Often, these tasks take a few minutes but when lost in a lengthy list, can easily take hours/days/weeks. When I prioritize these early in my day (I write mine before opening my computer, not at 5:00 a.m.), then I am more likely to tackle them during my day or those times when I have a few minutes --- giving me a much needed sense of accomplishment.

This free daily habit change takes less than 5 minutes, but often feels like it adds hours to my week, wind to my sail, and direction for my day. What small, free, habit changes could you make in your day to help your to do list? To help give you that much needed sense of accomplishment?

Photography credit: Brooke Bryand Photography