I’ve been busy enough lately that I find myself wasting more time and energy than I should in stewing about all the things I’m not getting done. Yes, I know that’s completely unproductive, but I do it anyway.
But yesterday I remembered a technique my brother taught me—it’s actually no more productive than stewing, but at least you end up feeling better.
You start your day with a list of things you want to accomplish. And yes, even if it’s something you’ll probably do anyway, it still counts. The things on your list can be daily habits you want to maintain, like exercise, or eating right, or even taking some time to read for pleasure. They can be household chores, like getting the fridge cleaned out or fixing that broken latch. They can certainly be work or work related tasks, like revising chapter 14 or writing your Scene13 blog. (Slam! I’ll explain that in a minute.) It can be anything at all that you want to get done, today.
Then, as the day goes on, you reward yourself with Slam points for everything on the list that you do. If you get one thing done, then your score for the day is a Slam. And let’s face it, there are some days when a Slam is a pretty good score. It may be kind of par for the course…but hey, you got par. You got something done…so, Slam! If you get two things done, you’ve got a Grand Slam day. If you get three things crossed off your list, you’ve got a Super Slam! Four gets you a SuperDuper Slam. I’m not sure my brother had a category for five things accomplished…but if you’ve crossed five things off your list in one day, you’re probably feeling so good about yourself that you don’t need this system.
The Slam System is completely customizable—you can make your tasks as hard or as easy as you like, and include whatever you like. I choose not to put walking my dog on the list, even though it’s exercise, because that’s pretty much automatic—but doing this blog absolutely counts! However, I have to schedule it before I can count it as a point. You could even elaborate on the system, so you get some other reward for your points at the end of the day. But for me, just being able to say “I got a Super Slam today!” is enough. And how much healthier is it, to end the day celebrating how much you’ve accomplished, instead fretting over how much you didn’t do? So I’m going to spellcheck this and schedule it, and…Slam!
Hilari Bell writes SF and fantasy for kids and teens—and if she can get Scholar’s Plot (book 5 in the Knight & Rogue, series) out in November like she plans, it will be a Supercalifragalistic Slam.