1. How will I feel about this at the end of the day?
Recently I was reading a blog post by Leo Babauta in which he talked about thinking about the end of the day as a way to guide the choices we make.
Basically the idea is that before you eat that doughnut or make any decision, you stop and consider how you’ll feel about that at the end of the day. When you review your day, will you be glad you ate the doughnut?
- Will I be glad I spent time on Facebook, or will I be glad I got some filing done and my desk cleared off instead?
- Will I be glad I did at least five minutes of stretching, or will I be happy about deciding that it was just too difficult to do in the moment?
- Will I be glad I made that phone call that’s been bugging me, or will I be glad I put it off yet again?
I have found this to be really helpful to get perspective on what’s important to me, what I want to do, since it’s so tempting to take the easy way out and do what’s easiest in the moment.
This end-of-the-day mindset is a corollary to another idea I’ve been applying over the past several months.
2. How will I feel about this in thirty years?
When I’m older looking back on this time in my life, how will I feel about what I’ve done?
- Will I wish I’d made time for exercise so I can continue a joyful, active lifestyle?
- Will I be glad I followed through on my dream, no matter what the outcome?
- Will I be glad I worried and stressed so much about something that I wasted hours or days being an emotional wreck?
I don’t think I’ll ever be glad I let worry or stress take over my life. Life is too short to get THAT stressed out about something. It will be okay.
It’s good to think about things that matter, and natural and good to be concerned, but getting worried and anxious to the point of freaking out isn’t helpful and is potentially harmful.
At minimum, it’s a waste of time. At worst, it can interfere with our relationships and keep us from doing what is needed and important and fulfilling.
3. How will I feel about this in the morning?
When I’m tired at the end of a long day, it can be difficult to make smart choices about how I spend my time.
It would be great to stop for a split second and visualize how energetic and happy and fulfilled I’ll feel in the morning if I get to bed at the time I need to.
- Will I be glad I spent this time staying up late browsing the internet instead of going to bed and getting good sleep?
- Will I be glad I stayed up late to watch one more Angel instead of just saving it for later?
- Will I be glad I read my book for an hour in bed instead of turning off the light earlier?
Sleep is such a critical part of feeling good, being happy, and getting things done. I know I need to make sleep a priority. And even more so since I don’t ever know for sure what time my baby alarm clock might wake me up.
Sometimes we decide to be a rebel.
Sometimes we decide that the best decision this time is to stay up late finishing that awesome novel or watching one more show with the husband. Sometimes we really do want to veg on the computer for thirty minutes. And that can be a good thing.
Sometimes we wish we’d decided differently.
We need to be gentle with ourselves, and just keep moving in the direction we want to go.
Have you used any of these questions in your life to help you make the best use of your time and energy?