The Daily Short List to Cut Negativity and Consistently Succeed

April 7, 2015

About the Author: Eric Bach

Daily Short Lists ensure your essential habits and tasks get completed.

Key Points:

  • Cut yourself some slack and make a short list of your most essential tasks
  • Your short list is a collection of habits or tasks that leave you feeling successful and happy with your day
  • Define why habits make your short-list and why they’re important. If you don’t define success, you’ll never attain it.

I just returned from Las Vegas.

A weekend of staying up in the virtual time warp in over-oxygenated casinos, too little sleep, too many “beverages”, too few workouts, and too many poolside truffle fries left me feeling like a train wreck.

Not just feeling like an ashtray, but emotionally disappointed and distraught at my hypocritical actions and lack of productivity. And it’s not just Las Vegas, but a constant mental battle in trying to get better every day.

How come you sat on Facebook instead of reading and researching?

Why, oh why did you double-fist those Mai Tai’s?

daily short list 

Why did you watch the Shark Tank marathon, forego a good night sleep, and pound two Venti Americanos this morning?

Basically, whenever I get out of my groove whether it be for travel or something else I spend the next day or so reflecting and beating myself up about it. This poses a huge problem for two reasons:

  • Complaining about a problem doesn’t solve it.
  • Negative energy is contagious and will cascade through your day or week…unless you take the steps to fix it.

I get crazy because I hold myself to a high standard filled with lofty goals and as a leader of my athletes and clients to always do the right things. But, like anyone else, I’m human and need to remind myself of that when I’m feeling especially negative.

Rather than let the problem compound I’m a solutions guy.

I see my clients go through the same issues when they’re on a road and I’ve witnessed one bad weekend cascade into a week of eating crap food, negative energy, and skipped workouts.

To fix the problem, the first thing you must do is wipe the slate clean. There’s no point in dwelling on your past mistakes for too long. Instead, learn from them and take positive steps to remedy the issue.

Then, consult your short list. The short list is something I swiped from Nate Green and is a small collection of habits that when done, pretty much ensure you’re going to have a kick-ass day and attitude.

Developing the Short List

Your short-list can’t just be any meaningless task that you think will work. They need to be meaningful tasks that overwhelm you with joy to scribble off your list each day.

For me, these tasks help me define a successful day and give me an “oh so gratifying” sense of accomplishment. I know exactly why I do these things every day and how they improve my life.

daily short list

On the backend, completing them allows me to relax and enjoy the ride, rather than scrutinizing my every move on the back-end.

My Short List: What I Must do and Why

Write for 30 minutes: Writing gives clarity and organization of thought, allows me to create something that positively builds my business and my mind.

Meditate for 10 minutes: De-stress and live in the moment, rather than thinking about 30 different tasks and projects. I use the Headspace app every morning…when I remember.

Exercise for 30 Minutes: Build my body, build my mind, and practice my craft.

Read for 30 minutes: Reading lets me know I’m gaining new knowledge to learn and grow as a coach, entrepreneur, and person.

That’s it.

Often, these tasks go for much longer, but sticking with a time constraint, even if it’s not that long allows me to define success in each and every day.

In essence, my short list provides the 80:20 for my brain, feeding my hunger for self-improvement day by day and helping me get back into a routine after I hit a rut.

Now it’s Your Turn.

How to Make your Short List

To create your own short list you must first define what’s important to you.

Second, select the small habits that when completely consistently over time, will reflect on your goals and aspirations.

Third, pick 2-4 habits and begin implementing them one at a time in short 5-10 minute blocks.

  • Keep them short and defined by time; otherwise, you’ll never have an end point that leads to accomplishment.

Daily Short Lists ensure your essential habits and tasks get completed.

Start small with important tasks and get them done early—you’ll win the day and in most cases, accomplish much more than you thought you would.

More importantly, you’ll take actions that reflect your goals, prevent self-loathing, and realize that you are taking the steps to kick ass every day.




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