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Ever have a day that just got off to a rotten start and then went downhill from there? Maybe you couldn’t get to sleep the night before and then when you finally drifted off the alarm went off seemingly 20 minutes later. Or your kids wouldn’t get up and get going fast enough. Or you got a text that your workplace needed you to show up early for a meeting.
Then the coffee maker poured coffee all over the floor because in the haste and confusion to get ready you forgot to put a cup under it. (True story! It happens!)
Then when you finally do get to work you realize that you forgot your laptop at home and also forgot to put the trash out at the curb.
When days start off badly and then go from bad to worse it would be so great to have a “restart” button so that you could just go back to bed and try it again.
While I can’t give you a “restart” button (oh MAN, that would be so nice!) I can give you 3 cheat sheets that you can use to help make every day go a little bit smoother.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. That means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry though. It won’t cost you a penny more! You can read my affiliate disclosure here.
BONUS! If you don’t have time to read the post right now and want to just grab the FREE cheat sheets, you can get them here.
The first sheet is called 3 Simple Things to Make a Great Day! It’s based on the much-touted premise that if you take some time to start your day out intentionally, you’ll have a much better day.
Just knowing what your priority is for the day can be helpful. Yes, you read that right your “priority,” not your “priorities.” Priority means the first thing. You can’t have more than 1 “first thing.” Greg McKeown explains the word priority (and how trying to have more than one priority works against us) in his bestselling book, Essentialism.
“The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.
Only in the 1900s did we pluralize the term and start talking about priorities. Illogically, we reasoned that by changing the word we could bend reality. Somehow we would now be able to have multiple “first” things.
People and companies routinely try to do just that. One leader told me of this experience in a company that talked of “Pri-1, Pri-2, Pri-3, Pri-4, and Pri-5.” This gave the impression of many things being the priority but actually meant nothing was.”
It’s a little difficult to think that way because we are so used to having, or being told we should have, multiple priorities. Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less is a really fascinating book that will shift how you think about your “to do” list. It doesn’t try to help you get “everything done.” It helps you get the “right things” done. It’s aimed more at your work and professional life. But I’ve found it absolutely has practical applications for home life as well. It comes in a Kindle format and audio book as well. I highly recommend it.
“But, Amy,” you might be thinking, “I’ve got more than just one thing to work on during the day.” Yep, me, too. Figuring out what you want to accomplish on a given day is an important part of setting your day up right as well.
Definitely! That’s really important. And, if you’re like me, that’s the thing that often gets shoved so far down my “to do” list it falls off and I don’t end up doing it. Or I put it off until the weekend or until vacation or some future date when I’ll finally take the time for myself.
It’s hard to juggle everything. So, if we’re not careful we’ll just end up “putting out fires” all day rather than living our day with intention and working towards our larger goals.
BUT if we take a few minutes in the morning to basically set our compass for the day and chart our path we can make each day less scattered and more focused, less of a grind and more fulfilling. To help make this process easier I’ve created a very practical and basic cheat sheet called 3 Simple Things to Make a Great Day. You can get the sheet by clicking here. Then just print it out. One sheet will last all week.
One thing I always hear from readers as being a pain point in their day is that old familiar “What’s for dinner?” problem. I’ve got a post on meal planning in 3 steps here: 3 Simple Steps for Beating the “What’s for Dinner?” Blues
But if you just want a quick and easy place to jot down your meals and keep track of what you need to buy for them, the second of our 3 Simple Cheat Sheets for a Good Day can help. It gives you a space to note anything that needs to be prepped ahead of time. Like “take this ingredient out of the freezer the night before” or whatever. It also includes space to make a grocery list that you can cut off and take to the store with you.
Or you can just take the whole thing like I do. I jot down other grocery items I need for the week on the back of the main list to keep everything in one place. You can get the Easy Simplicity Dinner Planner here: Dinner Planning Cheat Sheet One sheet gives you 1 week of dinner planning space.
You might want to take a look anyway. The dinner planner may give you ideas on how to develop a cheat sheet of your own to help you solve one of the organizational or planning problems that keep cropping up for you.
It might be about tracking your eating, or your exercise, or your kids’ homework, or… you name it. If you have some issue that’s frustrating you, you might want to think about how a simple cheat sheet might solve the problem. Sometimes that physical pen and paper thing can really help us stay on track.
It’s important to get your day off to a good start by setting your intention and focus. It’s also important to get your night off to a good start as well.
I’ve kept a gratitude journal for years. I’ve found that by reflecting on the day and writing down things I’m grateful for I am able to fall asleep more quickly. I also get a better night’s sleep.
This doesn’t have to be a complicated process. In fact, it’s best if you keep it as simple as possible. I tend to have an easily activated mind. So I don’t want to get it all cranked up just before I go to bed.
You’ve probably already heard about keeping a gratitude journal. The idea is not a new one. There are even a variety of pre-made gratitude journals out there that you can purchase and use.
The reason the gratitude journal is so popular is that studies have shown that even just writing down things we’re grateful for every day for 3 weeks can do the following:
Those are some pretty awesome results for such little effort!
The study also found that grateful people are more stress-resistant and have a higher sense of self-worth. So what’s not to love?
Have you started a practice of gratitude yet?
If not, check out this last of our 3 Cheat Sheets called 2 Simple Things for a Peaceful Night. Click here to get the FREE cheat sheet.
52 Weeks of Gratitude Journal This book is a little different from the usual daily gratitude journals you might find. Each week it starts off with a true story about gratitude from a different author. Then there is space for you to write about something you are grateful for, as well as a coloring page! It’s a really inspiring book.
The other one I love is Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal: Questions, Prompts, and Coloring Pages for a Brighter, Happier Life This book has some great prompts to help focus your gratitude journaling. One tip that you might find fun is that you don’t have to respond to the prompts in any particular order. I usually go through a book from start to finish (like you’re supposed to, lol).
But, if you want you can start anywhere and jump around. Or open the book randomly and write about whatever prompt you open to. Then just date the page on the day you filled it out. I thought that was a really fun way to do this journal.
Grab these 3 simple cheat sheets to help make every day a good day and every night a peaceful night. PLUS, by building up your “gratitude muscles” you may find you feel better physically and mentally. AND, you may have more energy to take good care of yourself and the ones you love.
Here’s your Free Bonus! You can download all 3 cheat sheets here: Cheat Sheet Bundle
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Want to learn about 3 Simple Habits for a Calmer Happier Life that you can start today? Check out this post.