What Are Your MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) for Today?

Sometimes you can be busy all day, but still not know what you actually accomplished, especially if you’re just reacting to external demands.

Whether your too-long to-do list is self-imposed or forced on you by others, you likely won’t reach the end of the list each day. But there is a way to make sure you’ve accomplished something that day that makes a real difference to you.

To ensure you’re moving forward in your goals, even when life fills up your to-do list with demands, it helps to focus on a few important things you want to accomplish each day, and be determined not to let anything else get in the way of those.

Pick 2-5 things to do today to move yourself forward on your goals, so you feel like you’ve done something worthwhile. These are called MIT’s. Your Most Important Tasks for the day.

Put them in a computer file. Or better yet, write them down on paper or an index card, so you can mark them off as you get them done.

Make those your priorities for that day, even though other things will need to be done too. Countless distractions and tasks will assert themselves and demand your time, but you can deal with those and still get your MIT’s done, so you have tangible evidence of what you accomplished that day, and you can feel good knowing you’ve done the things that make a difference for you.

You can add in more things after they’re done, and there will be other items on your list, but it’s best to keep your priority or MIT list small, so you can achieve it consistently. You will never get to everything on your whole list, but you’ll have prioritized not just what’s urgent or makes the most noise, but what is of value to you and will make your life better — today, tomorrow, and into the future.

Ed Gandia, a business-building coach for writers, summarized in his newsletter how he uses this approach. “…Once I have those goal-based tasks on paper, I add additional tasks I need to complete that day. But then I take things one step further: I highlight the 3 tasks that I MUST complete that day.

I call these my most important tasks (or MIT’s for short). They’re tasks that are essential to making progress in my business and personal life. (italics mine)

They’re not necessarily urgent tasks. But they’re always important. They’re things that I want to commit to completing that day, no matter what happens.

In other words, these are tasks that, once completed, will ensure that I have a productive and fulfilling day… even if I don’t complete anything else on my list.”

I like the idea of highlighting these three tasks, so they’ll stand out in the sea of our overwhelming to do lists. I usually circle the items instead. Do whatever works for you.

Gandia also strongly suggests doing these MIT’s first so they get done before other things get in the way. If you do, it will likely energize you to keep going. But most importantly, you’ve done what matters most to you.

I also like that he uses these MIT’s to accomplish goals in both his personal and professional life, so we don’t necessarily have to neglect one aspect of life for another.

If anyone has every seen my ongoing lists of goals and the steps for accomplishing them, they know my ambitions usually far exceed what I’m able to actually do in a given day. But if I do my 2-5 MIT’s for the day, I’ve done something worthwhile and tangible, moved forward with my goals, and made some progress on my list.

It helps to have a record of the small forward steps I’ve made on my longer term goals, so when my goals still seem far away, I can look at my list and see that I really am getting there, however slowly and incrementally.

And if I keep my focus on what’s most important, I’ll probably get some of the other things done too. I also might decide at the end of the week or month that some of those things that didn’t get highlighted aren’t really even necessary.

So for today one of my MIT’s was to publish this post, because my writing, my business, and my readers, are important to me. And unlike with some MIT’s that only we know about, I have a public record that I accomplished at least one of my goals for today!

So, what are your MIT’s for today? How will you feel when you’ve done them?

How to Cultivate Resilience When Life Isn’t Fair

Have you ever felt like life just keeps knocking you down and leaves you gasping for breath? We all have at times, because life doesn’t always play out the way we want or expect it to.

But we don’t have to let these blows keep us down permanently. And even while we’re still dealing with the situation we can find some peace and happiness in our lives, and within ourselves.

According to Psychology Today, “resilience is about getting through pain and disappointment without letting them crush your spirit.”

In the article, “What is Resilience and Why is It Important?” writer Ashley Elizabeth states that people who are able to effectively navigate the highs and lows of life have what psychologists call resilience, or an ability to effectively bounce back from adversity.

Whenever you come across a difficult situation, you have two choices: you can either let your emotions get the best of you and become paralyzed by fear, or you can uplift yourself from the negative and transform pain into possibility.

…These experiences may bend you, but they do not have to break you.”

To read the article, go here: https://www.lifehack.org/715558/what-is-resilience-and-how-to-be-resilient.

Now that we have an idea of what resilience is, here are a few tips for developing more of it when we need it most. Life is certainly not always fair, easy, or pain-free. It’s good to acknowledge the situation, and our feelings about it.

But we can also do things to help ourselves not only survive whatever has happened, but get back to a state of well-being and joy as soon as possible, and keep a sense of perspective in the meantime.

  1. Give yourself a break.

I mean this in 2 ways.

  • First, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Sometimes we face setbacks because of our own mistakes, but mistakes are part of being human, and they’re how we learn. So just go forward and do it better next time. Instead of spending energy berating yourself, use it to recover.

But often, the hardship we’re facing is not our fault and has nothing to do with our actions or character. Accidents, the actions of others, and many other things beyond our control could be solely at fault.

But it is still human nature to somehow think we could have done something to make things better. Or we may just feel guilty about the natural range of emotions we’re likely to experience.

But those negative thoughts and feelings just make things harder. That doesn’t mean denying what’s wrong, or denying your feelings. Feel what you need to feel, accept the situation the best you can, but try not to be too hard on yourself. Be as gentle with yourself as you would be with a good friend.

  • Second, you may need to literally take a break.

When circumstances beat you down, it makes sense to give yourself some time to rest, focus on self care, and not expect as much from yourself for awhile. Just like if we are injured physically, a situation that is unfair, difficult, or even tragic, wounds us emotionally, and we need to give ourselves time and whatever else we need in order to heal.

2. Focus on the positives.

This one comes in 3 parts.

  • First, think about all your own positive qualities.

For every time you’ve made a mistake, you’ve probably done several things right. For every small way you’ve let someone down, you’ve likely been there for them in large ways much more often.

And even if you sometimes feel weak or lost or beaten down by circumstances beyond your control, remember your strengths. Doing so can help you feel better about yourself and remind you that you can survive this situation too.

  • Second, think about all the good things and people in your life who are there for you whatever you’re going through

As with resilience, gratitude has been a popular subject of study recently, and there is evidence that recognizing and being grateful for the good things in our lives, even in bad times, can help us feel better, function better, and enjoy our lives more.

  • Third, surround yourself with those positive, supportive people, and things.

Instead of allowing negative people to make you feel worse about the situation, spend time only with those you trust to support you and lift you up.

In addition, draw support from your faith, from reading positive books, from the unconditional love of your pets, from spending time in the natural world, or whatever else helps you to feel nurtured, grounded, and in touch with what is still good about life in general and your life in particular

     3. Give yourself time.

I think the phrase, “bounce back,” though encouraging, is not a perfect metaphor. If you stretch a rubber band almost too far and then let it go, it will bounce right back to its normal shape. If you drop a rubber ball on the floor and it hits, hard, it will come immediately back up.

But we aren’t made of rubber. When life stretches us close to our breaking point, or we have a hard fall, we probably won’t be back to normal in seconds, minutes, or days. It takes time and effort, and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to get through all that healing and regrouping immediately.

Take the time you need. Be patient with yourself. But trust that like that rubber band, you will eventually take on your usual, healthy form, and like the ball that had a hard hit, you don’t have to stay down. It’s a process that happens in stages, and it’s more complicated than with the above objects, but trust that you’ll get there.

Think of resilience as a muscle. You can build it up, so that it will support you when you need it. And you may be amazed at how strong you can really be.