The more of the following that happens, the better my day is:
- Getting up early: It’s easier to get up early in the morning if I have a set plan or thing that I need to get done. I also read the “Get Up Early” chapter in The Experts’ Guide to Doing Things Faster: 100 Ways to Make Life More Efficient. Something that really stuck with me was that people often sleep in because they think they deserve extra sleep. So now when I get up in the morning I think to myself: who am I to sleep in and waste time when I can get up and get something done. For whatever reason that often goes a long way in me not hitting “snooze” sixty-five times in the morning.
- Eating a big breakfast: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Why? Because it jump-starts your metabolism and sets the rhythm of your hunger throughout the day. What’s that you say? You don’t like eating breakfast? Well, why don’t you stop eating so late at night? That’s something that you hear a lot and doing so actually helps you wake up hungry, which is good. My favorite breakfast is scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast with some orange juice. And if you’re looking for an absolutely fantastic scrambled eggs recipe from master chef Gordon Ramsey, look no further:
(Can’t see the video?)
- Taking a shower and wearing clothes that make me feel presentable: People that have known me for a long time know that I don’t wear sandals or flip flops. Why? Well, I’ll tell you what I tell anyone who asks me: I always want to be ready to run if necessary. You don’t have to believe me, no one else does. But it’s true. I like to be ready for anything. Despite “presentable” sounding like I wake up and throw on a tuxedo every morning, it simply means that I want to be ready if guests drop by or if I need to make a run to the store. Wearing “real” clothes (not just lounge-around sweatpants and a summer camp shirt) also eliminates any self-excuses for getting things done. “I’ll just go tomorrow, I’m not really dressed to go outside” flies right out the window.
- Accomplishing a task early in the day: Even if it’s a small or easily-accomplished task, getting something done right away makes me feel great. Though I often like to try and immediately tackle the hardest task first, because then everything else is easy and I tend to avoid procrastination. This was how I edited my capstone film my senior year in college and I’m sure it’s how I’ll attack similarly difficult tasks in the future.
- Organizing something: I love clearing my in-tray, scanning documents and throwing them away, or listening to my iTunes library and rating all the unrated music. That’s organizing. And it makes me happy. But I also like…
- Cleaning something: Okay, so I don’t “like” washing dishes. Perhaps this is better titled, “Having cleaned something.” Sometimes it feels good to just stand in the kitchen and look at how clean it is. There’s no doubt a direct correlation to my stress level and how shiny my kitchen is.
- Making someone else laugh: In 8th grade Brittany Wall and I got the class clown superlative. I’m not sure about Brittany, but I still get great satisfaction from making people laugh. That’s why I’ll always choose going out to dinner over going out to a club (KNOCK, KNOCK … WHAT? … KNOCK! KNOCK! … I CAN’T HEAR YOU!)
- Watching a TV-on-DVD episode: I always have some TV show that I’m watching (or re-watching) on DVD. There’s nothing better than the multi-task extraordinaire: eating a meal and watching TV at the same time. I rarely sit in silence and eat and no, I don’t think that TV is rotting my brain or keeping me out of touch with family values from the 1940s. My excuse is that I’m going into the entertainment industry. Given that, it makes sense to at least multi-task TV when possible. Right now I’m watching Brothers & Sisters (thanks David) and I’m loving it and I highly recommend it. It starts off slow but gets good pretty quick.
- Making someone else a meal that they enjoy: Speaking of food, this is a new one. Lately I’ve been really interested in cooking (How to Cook Everything is an awesome cook book and Recipezaar is a wonderful recipe website). It’s a skill that I’ve always felt that’s important to have. Knowing how to cook saves you money and makes you friends (unless your new friends eat all your food—then you’re screwed). There’s nothing better than making a great meal and sharing it with someone and them turning to you with wide eyes (well, I guess that could go either way because “wide eyes” are very ambiguous—most of the time it’s good and if it’s not just be ready to, I don’t know, jump backward and defend yourself? always have a weapon on you or something). Good meals are great when you share them with good people.
- Getting one step closer to my long-term goals: Filing papers is great. Editing together a reel of my best film work is great-er. Accomplishing something that adds to my long-term goals, even if I’m only working on it a little at a time, is definitely something that contributes to a good day. Lately these things have revolved around my impending move to Los Angeles. I’ve decided on a moving company, worked with my future-roommates on acquiring an apartment, and worked on packing up my current apartment. I basically have little free time to do anything else but this sort of stuff currently, but it’s important, and it does feel good to get this stuff out of the way.
There you have it. What are your criteria?