Over and over, throughout the day, we make the Hundred Little Decisions: to work on this, to check email, to go to this website, to respond to messages, to grab a bite to eat, to meditate or exercise or do yoga or have tea or watch a video or push into deep purpose.~ Leo Babauta, from http://zenhabits.net/decisions/
As usual, Leo has this boiled down to its essence. I certainly make plenty of bad, in-the-moment decisions. These generally relate to food or entertainment, as escapes from stress and workload—both are entirely self-imposed and positively feedback into each other. I’m convinced that no amount of good intentions, nor mantras, nor little sticky notes, etc. can save me.
My mistakes are made much farther back in time. The mistake is not what I do when I feel frustrated; the mistake was starting the 42nd task during which I became frustrated. The mistake was putting 47 things on my todo list—not literally on paper, but in my set of expectations of myself. When I get to item 41, there’s absolutely not way I’m not going to start on number 42 when I have my eyes on the goal of 47.
I am completely on board with the idea that what one can accomplish in a lifetime is astounding, and that I can get there by simply doing a little bit, (of whatever it is,) each day. I understand that idea, but it appears in action too rarely in my life. I have a nice, sparse, morning routine and each day—more than two hours after I’ve awakened—I get to the point where I “surface.” Where I open up all the communication tools, project management system, notes, everything… and I plan my day.
This is where I fail; around 7:30am. Every day I grab life by the short hair and set out to tackle All The Things allocated for today. Every self-cursed day, I get to the 42nd item and get frustrated, tired, hungry, discouraged or whatever.
This problem is not solved with sticky notes at the spots where decisions are made in real time. This problem is solved in my first two hours in the morning… where I should be thinking:
What would a good day look like today?
P.S.: I’m adamantly opposed to planning “tomorrow” before going to sleep. The last thing I want to do, at the end of my day, is wade into what tomorrow holds, in the end-of-day, wound down, ready for restorative rest, mode. That’s crazy. It’s also presumptuous about there being a tomorrow into which I will awaken—the last thing I ever want to do is have someone find me dead, and see the stupid crap I was planning to do the next day. The only sane course of action is to wake up, begin the day with a fresh start and see what it holds in store.