Five Things to Do Every Day

Today I had a breakthrough. I ended up doing many of the things that I want to incorporate into every day.

1. Catch up with friends.

Weeks ago, I’d logged out of Google Talk instant messaging, so I could focus on my writing without chat windows popping up every few minutes. Unfortunately, this also coincided with my moving back to Sonoma and unknowingly waving goodbye to my social life, so I was left without even an e-friend to call my own. (This is where the world’s tiniest violin begins to play just for me.)

Today I signed back into chat and caught up with several people. Ahh, Google, organizing the world’s information AND making me feel loved? You anticipate my every need.

In the past few days, I’ve also spent time with a few real humans. Until now, I’d been relieved to have a break from my social calendar, but not watching Friday’s debate with friends put an end to my life as a hermit. I decided that it was time to hang out with people who have never seen Hannah Montana or High School Musical, and I called ’em up.

2. Clear the decks.

Today I deleted over 1,000 of my 5,480 unopened Gmails. They were mostly from listserves that I’d never ended up reading, and from which I contentedly unsubscribed. I also started creating filters to route my emails into specific folders the instant they arrive. In addition, I restarted my computer for the first time in ages, which involved closing my dozens of open browser windows. Getting rid of emails and windows opens up a whole lot of breathing room. Brian’s post reflects my feelings on this matter.

3. Take care of myself.

I made oatmeal with mashed banana and walnuts, drank green tea kombucha instead of the coffee that’s becoming a habit, and later ate a couple of green salads. I took a long walk, breathed deeply, and looked at the stars. The previous night, I got six hours of sleep, which is better than five hours of sleep (just like two minutes in heaven is better than one minute in heaven).

4. Do that thing that people call “reading.”

I love to read more than anything else, but I tend not to allow myself the luxury. Today I reminded myself that reading is “part of my job” now, as a student and blogger, and I read more than I have in weeks. I’m lucky that Darren reads for a good part of every day and constantly sends interesting stuff my way, including:

5. Get a daily dose of inspiration.

I’ve committed to reading something inspirational every day. Thanks to Stephen for the Idleness article, and for generally giving such good advice.

  • The Light at the End of the Tunnel” – A brief reminder that no matter how chaotic or unclear our circumstances, we’re always able to overcome them. DailyOM is one of the few daily newsletters that I actually read.
  • Idleness Takes Hard Work” – An argument in favor of doing nothing, to free up creativity and rejuvenate the body

All in all, it was a good day, and I hope to have a lot more just like it.

Comments (4)

  1. Margaret

    OMG! Did I talk to you already about my 5-a-day plan? Realizing that unemployment meant a lot of unstructured time on my hands (and not being a huge fan of vast swaths of the stuff), I set up a calendar, with 5 colors a day representing 5 different goals. Seeing an absence of one color would immediately tell me what I was avoiding and nudge me in that direction. (Yes, this is a variation that swum up from my memory of Wishcraft or another Barbara Sher masterpiece). It’s been 2 weeks, and I’m doing pretty well! The exercise goal will have to get a pump up somehow though, and cheaply! Any ideas?

  2. Melia

    Wow, that is impressively organized, my fellow unemployed friend. Now that my Outlook calendar is clear, maybe I’ll give that a whirl. Regarding exercise…any buddies to work out with you? Walking briskly with a friend is awesome — good for the body, mind, and soul, and it doesn’t feel like work at all.

  3. Gilliebean

    This is really great! I am super crazy right now and could really benefit from my own list of five… especially that whole “take care of yourself” thing.

  4. Mr. Hsu

    Glad I could be of help. As you know I’m simply returning the favor, as your advice along the way has been clutch for me. And in the end that’s just what friends are for. How complicated our lives have become that we must set actual goals with innovative methods for accomplishing our basic needs. Sigh.


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