"Did I Do Enough Today?"
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
Each day of my life feels like a never-ending struggle to answer one simple question:
Did I do enough today?
Most days I don’t win any awards, earn a million dollars, or receive some other form of a tangible attaboy. If I were to judge the “success” of my days by such vanity metrics, I’d be a loser 99% of the time.
Only 1% of the time do things like this happen:
- I earn a promotion and a raise
- I close on a brand-new home
- SEO kicks in on an article I’ve written and traffic surges
- I bench 225 lbs
- A product I launch nets a few thousand dollars
- My doctor tells me I’m a perfect specimen of health
These are all real achievements I’ve earned over the last couple of years of my life. But these things don’t happen every day, which is why it’s mentally damaging to “judge each day by the harvest that I reap”.
Instead, it’s much better to measure my days by “the seeds that I plant”.
- Did I accomplish key work tasks on time?
- Did I throttle my spending or put some money into savings?
- Did I write something today?
- Did I lift weights?
- Did I work on my side-project?
- Did I do something else healthy for myself?
These small actions — the seeds, if you will — are much better measures of success than fleeting big wins because they are the bricks you lay to get there. However, they’re hardly sexy, and they sure aren’t the big achievements that we want NOW, which is precisely why this concept is such daily struggle.
Like you, I frequently get caught up in thinking “man, I wish I could’ve done more today.”
So, what can we do to stop putting ourselves down and start feeling more like winners?
Here’s my idea:
1. Define what a successful day means for you
Make a list of 3–5 clear seeds (aka tasks) that you want to plant each day. Don’t go overboard. Make it challenging, but achievable.
2. If you get all of those done, you nailed it
Your day is clearly a success. Tell your mind to piss off and claim the victory that you achieved everything you set out to do…even if you didn’t win any flashy awards.
3. If you don’t get them done, keep at it
Take victory in whatever tasks you managed to achieve, but revisit your strategy for the next day. Did you try to do too much? Did you just miss the mark? Be honest and simply work on it.
Over time, the seeds that you plant turn into a garden that bears fruit for the rest of your life, assuming you can convince yourself it’s good enough :).
Try the plan above. Use a 3x5 notecard, your phone, or anything really to write down your daily goals. Reflect on your day as you lie in bed at night (which will probably happen whether you want it to or not).
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