What’s the minimum you need to get done?

Stop being hard on yourself! What's the minimum you need to get done?
Currently reading my stash of UK magazines and mourning the news that Cath Kidston is going bust. (Photo credit: F8 Photography)

I’ve got all this time on my hands and what am I doing with it? A big fat nothing. I suppose that’s not exactly true. Yesterday I put away my laundry (The Huz did) after it sat atop my dresser for two days. I watched two episodes of the Great British Bake Off and chatted on the phone with two friends. That’s about as productive as I got. Oh, wait! I also I managed to eat a quarter of a cake my daughter made. So there’s that.

Oh sure, there are endless tasks and projects I could get done. I could do our taxes (I don’t know how this has become the wife’s job, but whatevs.) Or, I could use this time to fix all those typos in this blog. Right now, I’m staring at four pints of tester wall paint that have sat in my living room since August. They’ll probably still be there next August.

To say I’ve been down on myself about it is an understatement. I’m many things, but lazy is not one of them. So I don’t understand why I’m not getting shit done. Is it because there’s so much too take in? Actually, maybe.

According to this New York Times article, we should stop being productive, bless my heart! And one of the podcasts I recently listened to (think it was Happier in Hollywood) said another mind blowing thing. It was this: Instead of thinking about all the goals you want to accomplish each day, flip it to what’s the minimum you need to get done?

The podcast suggested making a list of small tasks to make you feel better and (somewhat) productive. And that’s all you set out to accomplish. If you want to keep going on your to-do list, have at ‘er. But at a minimum, each day you will accomplish certain things.

What’s the minimum you need to get done?
And I’m drinking copious amounts of tea, from my adorable Cath Kidston mugs, natch. (Photo credit: F8 Photography)

The minimum to get done each day

Now the things you need to get done to feel healthy and like a functioning member of society are different for everybody. But with all that’s going on, we’re not to make our lists too long or cumbersome. This is a time to ease up and be gentle with ourselves.

Here’s a look at the things I’m making myself do each and every day:

  1. Get some form of exercise in for at least 30 minutes. Walking counts. I’ve also been loving the daily, free fitness classes offered by The Academy on Instagram Live
  2. Spend at least half an hour outside.
  3. Connect with The Huz and my daughter – without talking about COVID.
  4. Reach out to one friend/relative – even if it’s just a text, though phone and video are better.
  5. Read for a minimum 15 minutes. (Committing to reading for half an hour seemed like too much of a chore.)
  6. Take my vitamins and supplements. Note: This is not code for pot. Ha ha!

One day last week I was only outside for 10-minutes if that (such a cold wind!). And I didn’t connect with anyone besides The Huz or The Kid. At the end of the day I felt drained and grey.

Based on that little experiment, I found out first hand, you actually do feel worse if you let inertia settle in. By having some standards (if you can call them that) I’ve taken control of what I can. Routine can be regulating.

What I’m letting slide

Did you notice how reading or watching the news isn’t on my list. Nor is work. Of course I want to get work done every day. But do I really need to? Because I work for myself and set my own schedule, I’ve got some freedom. And let’s face it, there’s not much of a market for travel writing these days. I’ve been going full tilt for so long, I’m actually not minding dialling back.

As for the news. I get that it’s our duty to stay informed, but I don’t need to be bombarded with daily death tolls. Instead, I’ve asked a few people to update me on a need to know basis. Putting myself on a media diet is working.

Speaking of diets, I’m still not being very disciplined with what I’m eating. I’m craving carbs like nobody’s business. To make matters worse, I just discover the joys of toasting bread in a frying pan with bacon fat.

Miraculously, I’m not stressing about it. We’ll see how I feel when my pants feel tight. I wouldn’t know. I’ve taken to only wearing sweats.

So for now, I’m taking the pressure off. Setting the bar low. And I’m OK with this. If I can accomplish those six things, the day can be counted as a win in my books. 

What about you? Do you have any small or big projects you’d like to accomplish during this time? Or are you allowing yourself to dial back?

You may also be interested in reading:

Here’s how I’m coping with COVID, thanks to 5 therapists

How a college student is coping with COVID

The ultimate hangover breakfast

About The Author

3 thoughts on “What’s the minimum you need to get done?”

  1. Paige McEachren

    Great list of things to do…. I’m going to make more of an effort to complete each 6 daily!

  2. Shannon Entin

    This is great advice. Also? “connect without talking about COVID-19”? YES!! I’ve been getting so frustrated when talking to friends that the convo always goes there. I guess it’s natural, but it’s good advice to try to talk about other things.

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