3 Checklist Templates To Motivate You Based On Your Mood & Energy Level
100% moment of transparency — I used to think “mind over matter” trumps all when it comes to self-discipline. But truth is, I need a checklist to get sh*t done. To be honest, I don’t even know how I functioned before one.
That’s why I’m sharing (and stressing) the importance of creating a daily checklist that you can actually commit to. I originally shared these tips exclusively in our TFD Newsletter- which you can sign up for here.
Below, I break down how to create a to-do list that leaves you feeling productive and refreshed, no matter where you are in life or what mood you’re in. Because trust me, I’ve had some “10” days and I’ve had some not-so-so “10” days (like “10” but minus the “1” in front). However, on those days where I feel my absolute lowest, having a to-do list has given me some sense of willpower and accountability.
See below on how to create your own, in three easy steps!
So, my rules for creating a checklist are pretty simple; I either make them the night before my day starts or in the morning. Either way, creating and sticking to a checklist has been a huge part of my daily drive and motivation.
1. Determine what mood you’re in (and be honest with yourself!)
For any checklist I create, the goal, at minimum, is to be somewhat ambitious. However, depending on what phase you’re at in life (or what mood you’re in for the day), ambition can vary from “starting a business” to simply “getting out of bed.” Either or is okay. We all have different seasons in our lives, both good and bad — both apathetic and ambitious. With that said, before you create any checklist for the day, ask yourself if you’re in a super ambitious mood or a semi-ambitious one. There is no wrong answer.
2. Base your set of tasks on step #1
With any checklist, the goal is to add structure to your life, not restriction. As we learned from therapist and mental health specialist Kati Morton at our Money & Mindfulness Retreat, try not to exceed listing more than seven “do-able” tasks on your checklist, so as to not overwhelm yourself.
A structured checklist should include a mix of realistic goals and ambitious ones. So if you’re struggling to feel motivated, create a checklist where 80-90% of your items are easily attainable and actionable. If you’re feeling more ambitious, create a 50/50 checklist where about half of the items are everyday actions, and the remaining are tasks you have yet to attempt or complete. Either way, the goal is to A) create a checklist of things you feel positive you *can* achieve for the day & B) create a checklist that ultimately pushes you to progress into a more challenging to-do list later on.
3. Check things off throughout the day (leave room for misses and forgiveness)
This one is pretty self-explanatory. In order to keep yourself motivated, check your items off as you complete them. Whether it’s throughout the day and in real-time, or at end of the day, be sure to actually stick to your checklist ritual. As with anything in life (exercise, healthy eating, career, etc.), if you find yourself at a plateau with your current checklist, that means it’s time to update it to be more challenging. Also, feel free to reward yourself once you’ve reached this point in your checklist-ing tenor 🙂
Here are a few examples of checklist templates to create for yourself and turn back to, depending on where you stand currently:
Daily Checklist (Basic But Hopeful – 101)
- Make the bed
- Put on actual clothes (other than PJ’s, sweats, or loungewear)
- Read/listen to affirmations (or 2 favorite “feel-good” songs that empower me)
- Log into work + complete the day’s tasks
- ~1 hour of social media and/or internet
- Eat 3 balanced meals
- Reach water goal (and/or take vitamins)
- Complete at least 1 goal or personal feat: _________________
Daily Checklist (Feeling Good / Semi-Ambitious – 201)
- Read/listen to affirmations (minimum 10 minutes)
- Exercise (running/yoga/quick Peloton/etc.)
- Complete today’s tasks for work & prep for tomorrow
- Do AM and/or PM skincare rituals
- No impulse spending
- Do a house chore (laundry, cleaning, etc.)
- Complete at least 1 major goal for the day: ___________________
Daily Checklist (Feeling Super Ambitious – 301)
- Wake up 30 minutes early
- Learn something new – read/listen to something informative (podcast, news, etc.)
- Complete today’s tasks for work & prep for the rest of the week
- ~30 minutes social media
- Cook and/or meal prepped
- Complete at least 1 major goal for the day ________________
- Completed at least 1 major goal for “Future Me” (business venture/finance goals/etc.) __________________
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