Doug Waltman

The Top 10 Things You Should be Doing

Have you read the latest blog post about the top 10 things you should do in order to be happy and successful? No? What about the 6 ways you can turn your daily grind into a powerhouse of productivity? What about the latest life hacking, confidence boosting, goal achieving, best, right, and awesomest method for getting everything you could possibly want out of life in a 20 hour work week?

None of that matters! This pseudo-helpful noise gets in the way of who you should really be listening to. Yourself.

Seriously. You’re a pretty smart person. You’ve made it this far. Consider the last to time you read a blog post about the top 10 things you should be doing and finished it thinking, “Well, shoot. I do all 10 of these things already. Self, remind me to high-five you later.” Oh wait, this doesn’t happen. We always find something about ourselves to be improved upon.

Add another few items to the list of stuff you should be doing but aren’t doing because you haven’t found the time to work them into your already busy schedule. Get it together, self. You’re only doing 6 of these 10 things. You’re failing so hard right now…

At this point you need to tell yourself to shut up and put the breaks on the negative thoughts.

But it’s hard to shake the feeling of information overload. The simple act of checking one’s email can bring productivity to a crawl. At times, checking my inbox feels like I’m fending off a hoard of starving 4 year olds while holding a box of ice cream sandwiches. Not everyone is going to get ice cream, and somebody’s kid is going to get an owie. It’s a sticky mess, and if you don’t delegate those sandwiches quickly, they’re going to melt.

My inbox is full of half melted ice-cream atop a pile of savage toddlers.

Back to my point. We are constantly being beaten over the head by information: emails, blogs, twitter feeds, anti-your-political-viewpoint Facebook posts. Reddit. Everyone has an opinion and everyone is a self-proclaimed expert. So which social media start-up, tech guru, angel-investing dreamboat should I be listening to?

Does breaking a certain Twitter-follower threshold somehow transmute opinions into life-altering posits? No.

Success and happiness won’t come by following the advice of an Internet sage. The best you can do is evaluate your own circumstance and make the best decision for your own life, health, and happiness.

There is no magical formula. The best lessons in life are not doled out via David Letterman-style guides to life. Instead of chasing success stories, write your own. Find wisdom through trials of fire and claim ownership of your own top 10 list.