Recovery: Start Your Day With A ‘Done List’


By: Marilyn L. Davis


“So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” —Lee Iacocca


But There’s Sooo Much to Do!


I know a lot of people who evaluate their progress at the end of the day. That’s all well and good, but what if you started your day with a ‘Done List’?

You’re probably scratching your head, wondering what you could do before coffee. Here’s what I did before I left the bedroom:


1. Said thank you for getting up

2. Prayed for those in my God Box

3. Made my bed

4. Read the morning meditation

5. Petted Jackson, my cat

6. Sorted two loads of laundry from the hamper

7. Grabbed the laundry

8. Turned off the light

Then I went to the kitchen. Now those nine things may seem small to you, but I got all of them done.


Don’t Just Watch the Coffee Brew


Doing those nine things allowed me to feel productive, and that was something I didn’t feel in my addiction. In fact, I can remember one time that I referred to myself as a slug. Just sitting and nodding out.

So, feeling productive, I put the coffee in the filter, and hit brew. No need to stare and wonder if it’s going to work. That laundry? Into the washer. And that’s something I don’t have to watch, either. The machines know what to do.

While coffee is brewing, I’ll check the phone for messages. Yep, three. Granddaughter, business, and an old friend. I can reply in five minutes.

Another task accomplished.


Savor the Moment



Ah, the first cup of coffee of the day. I check Jackson’s food before I sit down to the computer to check emails for From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. When he’s got food, he’s a happy kitty and lets me have a few uninterrupted minutes. If I forget to get his food, well, he lets me know that I’m not done – by sitting on the keyboard. 

Then, coffee cup in hand, I sit at my desk. But before the emails, I take a moment to look outside the window and check the bird feeders. There’s something about seeing the birds fed or the blue sky, or the deer that occasionally wander in the yard that’s soothing.

So, Jackson is fed, the birds still have about three days worth of seed and nuts, and I can feel energized to ‘start my day.’




I have about two or three hours before I go to my day job. As the editor-in-chief at the two sites, there’s always a new submission to read or edit, stats to check, quotes that are pertinent to the post, or images to find.

Sometimes those tasks don’t feel as productive as they are time-consuming without necessarily resulting in a published post. When I reduce my ‘to-do’ list to ‘publishing,’ I don’t feel like I’ve done much.

But the reality is I found a great quote, edited a post, found the ‘absolutely-best-image-possible’ for the post, and got it into the draft. Plus, I wrote the writer and communicated, I needed a shorter bio.

Missions accomplished – even without publishing.


The Done List


When we complete tasks, regardless of how big or small, it’s more productive than we were in our use.

Having a sense of accomplishment is essential. I think this is probably more true for us addicts. While we can't make up time that we squandered in our use, we can make better use of our time today. Click To Tweet


How Do I Know What I’ve Done?


Try writing down all the things you accomplished in a day, and you might surprise yourself.

Janet Choi is the Chief Creative Officer at IDoneThis. Her simple philosophy reinforces what works for me. “The simple act of pausing to reflect and acknowledge your efforts provides valuable boosts of motivation, focus, and insight that would otherwise be lost amidst your busy day. Your done list acts as a signpost, a manifestation of all that day’s hard work”.

 Here are four questions to ask yourself:

1. What tasks did I finish today?

2. How did I feel when I was productive?

3. Did I use my time wisely?

4. Can I make some of these tasks part of my daily routine?


How Do I Feel When I’m Done?


Beyond finishing the tasks, we’ve also got to understand that progress is an accomplishment, too. Rather than berate myself for not publishing, I can still feel productive that I’m three-quarters of the way through with getting this post ready to publish.  

That feels good.

It also means that I’ve only got to finish a quarter of the work, either tonight after my group, or in the morning after my routine tasks.

When I know what’s done, what had to wait – either due to time constraints or another person’s input, what’s waiting on me, like that load of clothes in the washing machine, or something comes up that I didn’t foresee, I still can feel productive, less stressed, and know I’ve made progress.


Progress, Productivity, and the Myth of Perfection



I’ll take a saying from the rooms, “progress, not perfection.” Progress towards any task, goal, or work is something that we need to acknowledge. We’ve done it.

Are you giving yourself credit when it’s done? I certainly hope so.


Writing, and recovery heals the heart.



Guest Bloggers Wanted



How recovery is presented is unique to each of us. Your words, encouragement, and experiences can help someone who is struggling in their addiction. 

Consider a guest post today to help someone. Now that’s being productive!




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