“Most of us move through our days with our hearts closed... What would it be like to be open-hearted today, feel loving toward every person you see, loving, and tender toward the world around you? Try it and see!”
– Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits, on how to be more present in the moment
Get Your Groove On
As if you needed an excuse to dance around your living room in your underwear – but here it is anyway: dancing is good for both body and mind.
One study found dancing to be more effective than even yoga, walking, and calisthenics at preventing disabilities as we age. “Dancing requires not only balance, strength, and endurance ability, but also cognitive ability,” said the authors of the study.
Dancing builds new neural connections, reduces stress, boosts serotonin, increases white matter in the brain, and much more.
Did we mention it’s a really fun way to burn off a few extra calories?
Next time you don’t feel motivated to exercise, remember you can always blast your favorite tunes and shake your booty. Bonus points if you throw in some choreography: it’s a great way to challenge your brain as well as your body.
Write a ‘Done’ List
You probably use a to-do list to keep on track with your tasks. But have you ever written a ‘done’ list?
Hear us out. Taking stock of what you’ve accomplished feels good. It’s energizing. It encourages you to keep going.
For their book The Progress Principle, researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer analyzed almost 12,000 employee diary entries. Here’s what they found:
The most powerful motivator we can possibly have is making progress on meaningful work.
The more frequently we experience a sense of progress, the more likely we are to be productive. And even small wins count.
The End of Day Review section of your Panda Planner includes a list of Today’s Wins for exactly this reason. You can use this as your ‘done’ list, or keep separate lists for wins and completed tasks – whatever works best for you.
Why not give it a try tomorrow? Keeping count of the things you have achieved is a great way to boost your confidence and motivation.
Esmé Weijun Wang, Novelist and Essayist
Award-winning novelist and essayist Esmé Weijun Wang has a mentally-focused morning routine. She:
- Wakes up without an alarm between 4:30 and 5:00 am
- Does her morning journaling. “I do a particular morning ritual in my journal that includes writing down my morning prayers of gratitude, my wishes, and my intentions for the day, and doing a tarot card pull to give me some guidance.”
- Works out the day’s priorities. “I choose one item to be the day’s biggest priority – if I could only get one thing done that day, what would it be? Next, I choose 2-3 other tasks to sit on the priority list.”
Why it works:
- Regardless of whether you’re an early bird or night owl, waking up naturally is good: it prevents the groggy feeling of sleep inertia.
- Gratitude journaling is hugely beneficial, so is setting intentions… but perhaps the best thing about Esmé’s journaling ritual is that she’s made it her own. Morning routines are all about experimenting to find what works best for you.
- We’re all about priorities (hence the Today’s Priorities list in our daily planners!). Keeping to a maximum of 5 priorities each day ensures you stay focused on what matters most.
Wang also says she keeps a “Things I Did Today” list (sound familiar?). “Keeping such a list is a good way of reminding myself of what I’ve actually accomplished instead of beating myself up over my endless list of tasks.”
We’re with you on that one, Esmé!
If you try tracking your accomplishments and wins, let us know how it works for you!