What have you been doing?! Try this 10-point checklist

What have you been doing?! Try this 10-point checklist

It’s well into February! Are you already racing to get ahead of what’s shaping up to be a manic year?

Join the club of people back from the January break and already feeling overwhelmed and hugely unfit (in the work productivity stakes). Are you feeling stressed?

Here’s a checklist of 10 tips to regain balance and personal success.

Consider your last week and rate yourself from 0 (lacking) to 10 (excellent) on each of these items. How did you go out of 100? Then plan for your week ahead. Can you improve on your score?


1. Take time to plan for the week ahead


Some people do this Friday afternoon, others Sunday night or Monday morning. You want to start the week in control and hit the ground running! This should be a regular time, at least 10-15 minutes to plan and review your schedule for the coming week. Write it in your phone, diary, planner or online calendar – but have it where you can check it and check things off as you go. That will give you a good feeling, and best of all, you’ll feel freer.

Set goals for your week to come. What’s coming up at work that needs to be addressed? Prioritise these from most to least important in writing somewhere, so that you can review and cross off as you go. (Some like to do this mentally, but most need to see where things are getting done.) What’s on the backlog list? Get these sorted as fast as is practicable. Don’t confuse weekly goals with the monthly planner or the big deadline that’s looming in a month or two. Include goals (where relevant) for your relationships and family, community obligations and your health. Plan and prioritise each day.

If you regularly do this every week, or some do it daily, and you are methodical about it, score 10.

[MY SCORE …/10]


2. Healthy eating and drinking water


Too many of us eat the wrong foods and do not control portion sizes, and then drink too much coffee, and /or alcohol, too much junk food and not enough water. Lots of people can’t understand why they have gained weight! Make some positive changes, work out what is healthy, and especially what is best for you! You will feel so good mentally and physically doing this as well.

[MY SCORE …/10]


3. Ensure personal life is positive


What about your relationships? What do you do to make your home life wonderful? Have you thought about doing something nice for your partner or your kids or your parents? This doesn’t have to be expensive – it could be something small like remembering that s/he would like some shopping done, or help with the kids’ homework, or fix something for them. Maybe visiting your parents one evening for dinner or taking them to a meal. A little pro-activeness – even when busy – is a wonderful thing to do. Don’t carry anger, resolve problems at home, and make your home a wonderful environment for you and anyone, or even pets, you live with. Surprise loved ones with something special so they feel good.

[MY SCORE …/10]


4. Some physical activity once a day


Not everyone has time for the gym, but good time management almost always permits half an hour for some moderate to high level activity, whether it’s a brisk walk, cycling to work, walking up hills or climbing your office building stairs, a vigorous swim first thing, a game of squash or tennis, or a session of yoga or pilates (great for an evening unwinding). Take the dog for a run before or after work (then both of you benefit). Join a walking club during your lunch hours. Doesn’t really matter what time of the day, but make time for at least thirty minutes every day. Your body, brain and emotions will all reward you.

[MY SCORE …/10]


5. Start work early after a good sleep


Not always possible, especially with busy families, but you can choose to go to bed a little earlier and rise early in the morning at home. You’ll have the mental space and quiet to address outstanding emails and correspondence, as well as plan important projects and tasks without interruption. Keep your head clear for business – this allowing private space for thinking through and ticking off tasks within tasks will really help you “do the do”. Sleep deprivation is not healthy and getting good sleeps will be a new focus for me in 2015!

[MY SCORE …/10]


6. Be proactive and solve, fix or deal with


Tackle something small or large that is an issue to be solved, something to be fixed, a backlog to be started, clutter to be sorted and cleared, items to be donated, files to be cleared, a birthday celebration plan to be resolved, a holiday to be booked, a mammogram or medical check up to do, a zip to be repaired, a plumbing repair, a car part replacement, a light globe to be changed, a fridge seal that is broken … or maybe a physio adjustment, an appointment with a counsellor, a meeting with a bank, the setting up of a new credit card.

Just do that thing!


[MY SCORE …/10]


7. Time out for personal de-stress


Sometimes you’ll have a brilliant week where a huge amount is accomplished; at other times, your co-workers make you want to scream. Time to de-stress, either way. Don’t seek solace in more than a couple of glasses of wine or something stronger. Go for a peaceful walk somewhere lush and green, breathe the ozone from the ocean after a storm (if you’re near a beach), listen to some reflective music, sit in the bath, maybe have a massage or finally learn to meditate. Play music, paint, cook, sing, dance. Stay away from your communication devices. Do this for at least 15-30 minutes a day, preferably in the evening before bed. Telling the kids “no screen time” before bed is no good if you’re not doing it yourself, no matter what time of the evening it is. It is vital to recharge.

Having said that, I personally love to de-stress over WORDS with FRIENDS, or a TV series! Whilst in USA I have loved the Shark Tank series. (I hope Australia’s version works well!)   

[MY SCORE …/10]


8. Expand your knowledge and connections


Learn something new; new software, a language, a new recipe, a wine appreciation class … limitless options. Try meeting some new people, especially some to challenge you. Join a book club and meet regularly. You might want to take some quiet time to read meaningfully: Most of us are constantly reading and absorbing information, although much is more like “data” – stuff that’s being spat at your from all directions. If it isn’t “data”, then it’s probably the written/social media equivalent of hot chips and milk chocolate bars. Try deep reading (whether a book, some in-depth articles or watching a thought-provoking documentary), it is very cleansing for the mind. It allows you to make new connections with ideas, gives you impetus for your own insights, and develops you in ways you’ll be needing for future work and vocational directions.

[MY SCORE …/10]


9. Make a difference to other people


In our frenetic supposedly connected world, people are actually more self-absorbed and isolated. Find a cause that interests you, plant trees, do a soup kitchen shift, clean up your area, help a local group in the community, donate to a cause, teach someone a skill, help an elderly neighbour who would like a little company once a week, find out what your community needs and help achieve a small part of it – and make a point of doing something to make a difference.  

It could be that you help someone at work. Over and above all the things you need to do, make a point of providing assistance to someone at work, a colleague or manager, or someone at home. Sincere but unobtrusive actions are often best. Observe quietly what’s going on, and where you can help, try and do so.  

There is a sound reason for this – it does you good, it does good for others and it creates a ripple effect that you may never directly know, but it spreads further than you think. This can be in your own time, but make that little bit of time and the dividends are incalculable. Once a week, give yourself a pat (score out of ten!) for doing so. You’ll want to do more.

[MY SCORE …/10]


10. Evaluate results, learning and fun


Think back over the week, about what you achieved, what you completed, what you had fun with, and what you learned. Did you build new relationships? Did you eat well and exercise well? Only you know, and can be honest with yourself. This evaluation process in itself is worth 10 points, and should also involve some celebration or reward.

[MY SCORE …/10]


Perfect scores for your week-that-was may be only occasional, but they will be memorable. Interestingly, by doing each of the 10 above, you’ll notice something very curious – you’ll be 10 times more effective than when you commenced, and this in turn will motivate you to go further. Suddenly work and life are exciting. Live life to the fullest.



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