Daily Writing Prevents Nervous Breakdown

Many people keep “TO DO” lists. You know what I’m talking about. A list of about 30 things you have to accomplish today. The list includes everything from “Make Lunch for the Kids” to “Strip and Varnish the Back Deck.” These lists, while providing a helpful reminder, serve mostly to foster guilt. You end your day looking at an itemized account of things left unfinished, instead of celebrating the important things you’ve accomplished.

Having been raised in an Italian-American household and attending 12 years of Catholic school, I’m all stocked up on guilt. That’s why I decided to start a different type of list.

The ‘To Do’ List Creates Guilt

A few years ago I began keeping track of everything I did each day. This list included things I accomplished in my role as a consultant, author, a professional speaker, as a dad and husband, and as a friend. I put all these accomplishments on one list.

Reviewing this list each day (and at the end of a week and a month) was a huge boost to my confidence. It reminded me how successful I was in ALL of my roles. So on a day when I didn’t sell anything in my business but I taught my son how to do long division, I felt really good about my accomplishments.

Then a couple of months ago I decided to take this process to the next level. Instead of just tracking actions, I also began writing down my feelings about things that happened to me during the course of my day. My successes and my failures. Things that made me happy and things that made me sad. Good stuff and bad stuff.

The results:

I’m more relaxed. It turns out, not keeping these emotions bottled up inside me had the effect of opening a pressure-release valve on my psyche.

I’ve got more patience. The key to successful relationships is not overreacting to the little things that bug the crap out of you. That’s patience. Since I’m letting off steam in writing (and breaking a few keys on the keyboard in the process) I don’t overreact when things do initially go my way.

I feel better. Since I’m honest about my feelings, I feel like I’m being true to myself. This makes me even more comfortable in my own skin.

This has lead me here, to this space, and to this written conversation with you. I’m still keeping my daily action journal. I’m still writing down my feelings. And now I’m going to take one of those ideas, each day (or as regularly as I can) and share it with you.

I hope you join me often. I hope you share your feelings about my writing. But most importantly, I hope the few minutes we spend together adds value to your business and life.