Start with the Wins

The last thing I do. Every day.

My days are often all over the place. I move quickly. I make a lot of mistakes. I usually come out of the day with a few wins and a few losses.

As much as I like routine, it's difficult for me to create one at the moment. But I don't mind — there's some kind of freedom in flexibility. (Of course, too much and productivity goes right out the door.)

The Last Thing. Every Day.

However, among the chaos, I've been able to establish a few routines. One of them is the last thing I do. Every day.

I write in a tiny notebook that I keep by my bed.

This is Not a Journal

It's not a diary. It's not a journal. Diaries and journals are time-consuming and difficult to keep up with.

It Works Like This

I use a pocket notebook. And every day gets a maximum of one side of one page.

While the format and structure of how I author these notes has changed over the 18 months I've been doing this, one thing has stayed consistent: I start with the wins for the day.

I've found that even the worst of days has at least one or two wins. (And there have been some bad days during the pandemic.) But there's almost always something to make note of as a truly good thing that happened today.

My current practice is to also intersperse other quick notes worth remembering, even if negative. But I take care to ensure there's always something positive I can hold onto while I drift off to sleep.

Previous Iterations

I've gone through a few iterations. In a previous iteration, I followed this structure:

  • Wins
  • Something I'm thankful for
  • One thing I'm going to accomplish tomorrow

I really liked that, but this loose structure is working better for me at the moment.

Your Turn!

Try it! Start with the wins, and spend just a minute or two reflecting on the day before washing it away in anticipation of starting fresh tomorrow.

Notebook Recommendations

If you're just getting started, I recommend getting super small and simple notebooks, like these. You can keep them when you're done or toss them. And if the practice doesn't stick, no big deal.

After a year of doing this consistently, I decided to up my game. I love topdrawer and decided to pick up a small notebook. It feels nice to write in, and I like the size — one notebook should last about a year at one side of one page per day.

I also like to use a nice pen that stays with the notebook. It makes the task feel a little more special to me.

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