My ‘Every Damn Day’ List

Looking for productivity tips? Trying to find work/life balance or manage self-care? Then you need an 'every damn day' list! Click through to find out what it is + how to write your own!

Since I am a Virgo eldest child of Germanic/Scandinavian descent it will surprise you 0% to know that I love lists and productivity and goals and Accomplishing All Of The Things In A Timely Manner. But.  In addition to being all of these things I am also human.  So this means that sometimes I spend two hours refreshing various social media websites, pawing through my cupboards + moaning about how I don’t have enough snacks, and then walking to a coffee shop where I buy a latte and spend two hours refreshing social media sites.

And then I feel disappointed in myself for having wasted a work day clicking links on Twitter.

Two years ago I started doing something I call the ‘Every Damn Day’ list.  It’s a list of insanely basic things that I try to do every day. (And let me be clear, I’m aiming preeeeeetty low with this list.) But if I do everything on this list and THEN spend the rest of the day on Facebook in a coffee shop at least I will have been at least the teeniest, tiniest bit productive.

Because, if I do the things on this list every day, I will end my day fully dressed! hydrated and vaguely refreshed! having taken a few steps towards meeting new people and advancing my career!  (Even if the latter takes the form of giggling over cocktails with another blogger and then @mentioning a bunch of people on Twitter)

How do you deal with those days where you fall down internet worm holes?  What are your productivity tricks?  What would be on your ‘Every Damn Day’ list?

Photo by Hope House Press on Unsplash

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  1. Sarah M

    I make my own bed everyday, too. I even make my kids make theirs every morning.
    We take a walk (nearly) every night after dinner, the 4 of us, with a hike every weekend.
    I read and write a little each day.
    Exercise 4-5 times a week.
    Those are my non-negotiables.
    Sarah M

  2. Helen

    I think I need all of these myself! I'm currently a supply teacher without much work and its easy to get dispirited while I'm waiting for jobs to come in, I give myself long term goals but these are great for everyday

  3. Samantha Kimble

    Yes! I do this too. I have a checklist on my computer with the mundane everyday things and than two dry erase boards. One for the things I want to get through for the week (including fun things like a trip to the zoo or making sure I get to the park with my daughter to the less fun things like cleaning out the closet) and the second is for the things I want to get done during the day. I love wiping things off my list. It is a sick rush.

  4. Sky

    I really think I need to start doing this. I think my list would include 20 minutes of commenting, writing every day, getting up and dressed by 9, and some form of exercise. I'll have to think on this a bit and create something for my wall, I think.

  5. Tamber

    Whoa! I'm so grateful you admitted to having a list like this! For 2 or 3 years I've been using small sticky notes in my planner with a chart with the tasks and the days for me to check off. I may have admitted this to one or two people….
    (Signed, Flaky Pisces)

  6. cleo raven zins

    As a WFHer, I'm often tempted to skip a day (or two) of showering. Gross, I know. My nightly shower requires a conscious effort. Every damn day. I'm doing well 🙂

    There's something to be said about a woman who makes her bed every day. I don't know what that something is :-/ …but if there's a more rewarding little pleasure in the morning than a glance at my neat, fluffy bed, with coffee in my hand, I surely can't think of it. I get it from my mother…

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      I'm a big fan of the 'no hair shower' – it makes me feel like I'm officially ready to start the day without having to wash/dry/style my hair everyday. I'm also a fan of ye old 'wash my bangs in the sink' routine 😉

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THAT UNTIL NOW. I'm still working through my $6 Pantene spray shampoo 😉

  7. Lynsey @ Eternally Wanderlyn

    Make your bed?! You definitely have more willpower than I do! Then again with a 5:40 AM alarm I'm lucky to actually make it out of bed. 🙂

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Truth. I get up when the spirit moves me – so it's a lot easier to make your bed at 8:30 😉

  8. tianna

    Love this! I have one for the morning and another for a night routine … it's hard getting into the habit, but it's worth it!

  9. Alicia | Jaybird: Home in Motion

    This is a perfect way to boil down your values + happy things and figure out what the necessities are for making every day a great one. I'll have to put together a list of my own…maybe one list of my wishful-thinking "every damn day" list, and one list of my "what I actually do every day (no judgment)" list for purposes of comparison.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Gah! So right! Mine would be 'constantly refresh Facebook and talk to my cat.'

    • The Dame Intl

      Sheesh, what I ACTUALLY do every damn day is play two games on my ipad, obsessively check instagram (researching for my blog of course…), make lists and wonder where the time went.

  10. Anonymous

    At the end of every work day I write two lists – one is my "To Do" list for the following day, and the other is the "Things I Have Achieved" list. Because often things are achieved which didn't feature on the to-do list, so it's really heartening to recognise the things I did get done, even if they bumped to-do items through into the next day. Lame, but it works. Also, I write the lists in pink!

    • Anonymous

      I should also add that my workplace has a "Visual Management" system on a giant whiteboard, which has a zillion symbols and an X Matrix, which is so confusing that I just ignore it and stick to my lists. Forced productivity methodology is pretty flawed – not everyone works the same!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Love it! It's so easy to get bogged down in the negative and what we HAVEN'T accomplished.

    • The Dame Intl

      I've started to do this, even tho I have a to do list, what I actually end up doing is dependant on what I find on the internet each day, so I've started making lists of what I accomplish in a day which is often separate from my to do list but it helps me feel like I actually did something!

  11. Sandra Dötsch

    haha, welcome to the club!
    Haven't named it Every Day Damn list though, but good idea^^
    I got this from my mum as well, that some days I just need to write down that I need to charge my phone or wash my hair, because I am definitely going to do it and then I am happy I can tick off a think from my list^^

  12. Pearl

    Love a good check list! Mine used to be way too optimistic (i.e. go to the gym every day – yeah right) so lately I've been trying to make it more achievable. I love yours so I might have to steal it!

  13. Ray Lardie

    I stumbled onto an Every Damn Day list a few months, when I got sick of seeing my to-do list bogged down by stuff I wanted to happen automatically. I use an app called Habit List; while its positive reinforcement system is less than ideal (screw you, programmers, for changing my score to /-1/ if I miss even one day of my schedule), overall it's really helped! It also lets me schedule different things to appear on different days (eg, my bookkeeping reminder pops up only once a week on Monday, but I get harassed about taking my vitamins every day.)

  14. Elisabeth Calmes

    I love this post and all the comments. Now, to make my own Every Damn Day list. (P.S. I am also a bed maker)

  15. Gigi

    Love this. For me, it's 1) answer all editor and reader emails (I know someday I may have too many to do this, but for now it's a priority), 2) get outside, 3) spend a few minutes remembering what I'm grateful for.

  16. Tangerine Meg

    I like that you put 1 Fun Thing *on* the list. I need to do that more deliberately, not *if* there's "time left over"!
    Thanks, Sarah… good post!
    Meg x o

  17. Jenn Rowell

    I really need to create an "Every Damn Day" list. I am huge on lists, and make one almost every day at work, during the morning meeting, to help focus my day, organize my time and be at least a little bit efficient so I'm not working well past 5 every damn day. Sometimes I put things on there that I've almost finished already, or things like "check voicemail," "read email," just so I know I'll be able to cross off a few things and get a little surge of satisfaction before moving on to real tasks.

    My "Every Damn Day" list would include: drink coffee, pet the puppies, eat breakfast (I'm terrible about this), clean/organize for 20 mins, read something useful, talk to or seek out at least two positive people and then pet the puppies some more.

  18. Vanessa

    I wrote my first 'every damn day' list when you initially talked about this on your blog, and I found it to be insanely helpful. I suffer from depression, and getting motivated is a huge issue for me. I find that having a list of achievable must-do's for each day really helps me to move forward and feel a sense of accomplishment as I tick them off.

  19. MaryT

    I use a dry erase marker on my bathroom mirror for my long term goals but this EDD list will be added today! Great idea

    • The Dame Intl

      That is such an excellent idea!

  20. Alisha - the.wineglass.manifesto

    This is really great.

    Sometimes I'm so exhausted by the weekend I will spend an entire morning doing NOTHING. If I had a little list like this I would feel far less guilty about days where my under-productivity is really low.

  21. @sarahspy

    the item on this list that stuck out the most for me is GO OUTSIDE! i have a terrible time with mornings (a couple years ago i used to freelance full time, but now i'm back to fulltime office work, with an 8:30am start time… ugh). i neeeeed to figure out a way to EASE into my mornings more easily / pleasantly, instead of the usual frantic stressful rush i'm finding myself in lately!!

  22. Tricia K

    I clicked through to this post from an email you sent out last month. Too funny. I am also a Virgo eldest born avid list maker who can forget to bathe and eat because I lost 5 hours clicking around the internet reading stuff. In fact, about an hour ago, I almost went to bed. Duh, its morning and I have to go to work. Got up too early and began working which changed to interneting. Before reading this post, I was thinking I need to write an every damn day list and not a to do list.

  23. JL

    Every Damn Day: 1. exercise or stretch, even it it’s just rolling my neck and shoulders around or holding a 60 second plank
    2. eat breakfast with a large serving of fruit
    3. read an actual, physical book

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