Wednesday, June 3, 2015

4 Reasons You Need "Dailies"

In a post from last week, I mentioned that I was practicing "dailies" -a practice I learned from The Accidental Creative podcast (this one specifically). I know daily practices started long, long ago in the monastaries of Buddhist monks. They had routines and rituals they practiced and honored in order to establish a trained mind. I was fascinated by the whole idea and decided I'd take a month to give it a try.

It took me a week to notice a difference in myself. Then the 5 Ways we Rob Ourselves post went live and lots of people asked specifically about my dailies. And, because I love a good question that leads to conversation, I decided to pull a big dailies post together. So, let us jump in!

My routines come in three categories: creativity, health, relationship.

  1. Write 750 words a day. (I've recently heard of and began using and found that my daily goal is SIMPLE when it's a brain dump instead of an attempt at perfection.) 
  2. Think of one blog post idea and write it down. (There's a page in my bullet journal for this.) 
  3. Read for a half hour. 
  4. Organize email inbox. 
  1. Hit 10,000 steps or go to the gym. 
  2. Drink water. (I haven't set a specific number, but have become much more intentional in my water consumption.)
  1. Spend intentional time with Jason. 
  2. Write 2 comments on new-to-me blogs. 
  3. Bible study and journaling. 
I know it sounds like a lot. Honestly, I thought it was a lot. Until I realized it's not because I'm being intentional about getting these things done which makes me more diligent with all of my time. Yes, all of my time. And in being more intentional with every moment, I get significantly more accomplished.

The importance of each in your day is vital. Say you choose to adopt my same dailies, you're going to be disappointed. Not because my dailies suck, but because I created them specifically for my lifestyle. I created them knowing where my strong spots are and where I struggle. They are also reflective of the goals I have -goals that surely do not mirror yours. So, when you take on the task of making your dailies realize they're all about you.

I track my dailies in a really simple way. Last month my daily chart looked like this:

As might be obvious, the who thing came about on May 11th while I was listening to the podcast, so it was a random addition in the middle of the month (yes to bullet journaling!), but it was really fun to figure out how I wanted to format it. Basically, any box that has a bubble in it means I completed the task and the empty ones mean I didn't. 

I've decided that the weekends are a pass, hence the blocks around weekend dates. Some weekends I'll be great and be able to knock everything off, other weekends I wont, but that's a grace area. My goal is to be more aware of my process and, quite honestly, it happens more on weeknights than it does on weekends and I'm okay with that. 

This month my dailies were a forethought so I got to make them a bit more beautiful and clean looking. Here's the spread: 

I'm hoping this will be fun to get to look back at as I read and work and write throughout the month. (If anything, the blank boxes encourage me to work and fill them in.

Todd Henry talks about Dailies and their importance through his novel, this podcast and that one, as well as on his blog. I agree with him with little emoji praise hands and then some. But I also realized these practices were more fruitful and important than I expected. Here are four reasons you owe it to yourself to take on your dailies:

Imagine your creativity as a tall tower. It will only remain standing and accessible if it's base is solidly established. Daily rituals are that foundation.

This isn't like a diet program or fitness challenge, your results will show up fast once your dailies are the right fit for your life. Within a week of beginning mine, I could see a change in my attitude to work and writing and, honestly, life in general.

Ideas are what fuel our workplaces and homes, our churches and business. Without thought and forward movement, we're stuck. But our creative process needs the appropriate fuel and care. This can only be done by understanding what works and what doesn't.

This series has been so rich for me because I had never thought about how I make, what I make, when I make, where I make, but all those factors and more influence the way I create. So, think on it, reflect, maybe write it out (and if you're wild, post it on your blog).

In knocking off those daily tasks, I am more likely to take care of the bullets I've got for work and blog and life in general. Where I have the every day-ness of the rituals, I also have the excitement of checking off the other good stuff.

Well, I've spilled all the words about my dailies. Any questions can go right into the comments.
And I'll close by asking you: 
what three things are going to be found in your dailies? 


  1. What an interesting concept and process. I love the simplicity and the benefits too :)

  2. I LOVE this idea! Are there certain categories of dailies or do you just choose your own?

  3. I love how you tracked it! Not going to lie, this still seems like a lot to me and I'm often hard on myself when I can't get everything checked off my to-do list. Maybe it's a good opportunity to practice grace ;)

  4. These are AMAZING tips! You are such an inspiration!

  5. interesting! I am going to give it a try next week!

  6. It's so easy and simple, but reaps such a difference in your day... Or at least in mine! :)

  7. I used the categories that Todd Henry (the creator) used, but you can change them based on your needs (like maybe you want to add faith or family etc.).

  8. I was worried about the same thing -that I'd be overwhelmed and scared to take the list on- but I've realized these are all things I want to prioritize in my day so I do these and then treat my To Do List (which only has 3-5 things on it) as my bonus points. :)

  9. IN LOVE WITH IT. (seriously I'm such a better writer when I can just sit and type away and then it scans and gives me those beloved stats!)

  10. I wish I could say that I made them all up myself, but I just spend WAY too much time listening to podcasts and reading about other people's processes!

  11. oh yes, please do and let me know what you think! :)

  12. I absolutely love how intentional you are in this process! It's so helpful to be able to see visually what we want to work on and how we are doing.

  13. I've never heard of this concept until you mentioned it, but I'm so glad it's on my radar now! Love it.

  14. FIrst of all, your handwriting gives me all the heart eyes. I love it! The idea of actually checking off your dailys on paper instead of just in your head is kind of awesome. I love checking things off! And these are all small things that add up to make a big difference. THanks for sharing!

  15. You should be a life coach or something. You just make life look so rich and free and easy and wonderful and judging all these comments, everyone wants to be JUST LIKE YOU in all your kick-ass-ness. Also-- love that I saw my name in there when you sent me my book ;)

  16. There's so much discipline and intention in all this- I really like the challenge and reward. I'm a list-keeper and I'm always looking for ways to be organized about my creativity! I think this would be a great thing to try! I feel better when I wake up early but I have no reason to (except work)- maybe devoting my mornings to some dailies is just the ticket!

  17. I love this so much! I'm finally getting back to a regular routine after having Hadley (it only took a mere 9 months, haha!). So much of my daily life feels like it's focused on surviving right now. I love that your dailies are centered on the things that will help you thrive instead of just what NEEDS to happen. I just might be stealing this from you. I need to make more time for things like journaling and commenting on the blogs I love! This is a step in the right direction. :)

  18. Thanks for sharing your process! I love the way you track your progress in your journal. I recently heard of and signed up, but I haven't been back since. *whoops!* Thanks for the reminder to get my butt writing again. :)

  19. The visual part of this is what keep me going. Just knowing I'm going to get to put a dot in one of those boxes makes me a VERY happy girl. (Turns out it's the simple things!)

  20. It's really cool because it takes the things you do daily and turns them into something to count on. I thought it'd make me feel stressed out of too busy, but really I just feel like I'm being much more intentional with my time each day. (Slash I've found myself thinking, tonight is busy so my dailies need to be done early rather than late.)

  21. Well thank you! :) My first grade teacher told me I held my pencil wrong for the whole year and it seems I've turned out okay! :)

    YES. The whole purpose is the reward of the dots. I know it sounds crazy, but the thing that's awesome is you DO feel rewarded by the single little bubble that says you've completed another task! :)

  22. Girl, now that I'm all settled in and feeling like things are going in a nice routine something will end up throwing it off and it'll take me FOREVER to get back in to the flow.

    Totally try it (and let me know what you think). I've become so much more intentional in the way I approach my day... In thinking about what I have to do, how busy my evening might be, and what needs to happen on my lunch break (even if it's just my 1/2 hour of reading!).

  23. YESSSS, get back to it girl! I randomly heard about 750words and decided what's the worst that could happen if I don't like it... BUT I LOVE IT. The stats and all that business... WHOA.

  24. Oh girl, it doesn't feel so free and fun always, but some days it feels more responsibly used than others... :) Just trying to make it easier to use my time better (though I'm surely still spending too much time la-di-dahing on Facebook and Instagram!) You're dear to me you queen of awesome.

  25. I realize this is more about intention than it is about anything. I've found myself thinking about what's on my docket for the day and the plans I have every evening and then thinking that I can tackle these tasks in different time slots (like lunch break or right after work before Jason is home). It's definitely not easy (or always a priority) but it has been so worth it already!

  26. YES. Being intentional is definitely something that I need to work on. This might be the ticket...

  27. I absolutely love this idea. We always set a monthly challenge that requires something each day, but I love the idea of setting daily goals and tracking them. I've been horrible at commenting lately, but you've thrown out so many good practices into my world and I'm so grateful.

  28. I've played with dailies on and off for the past year but I think this summer is when I'm finally going to get really intentional about making them happen!

  29. I love this post. I need to work on being more intentional with my time. My three dailies are going to focus on my health/fitness, education/teaching, and my relationships! Thanks for a great post!


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