Ticking the box, doing things because you have to…or do you?

4 min readJan 20, 2019

There are so many things I do each day that fall into that category of just ‘ticking the box’…so much so that it has become quite a thing. I joke with my wife about ticking the box on a regular basis, but it’s actually a serious matter. I refer to ticking the box as doing things that I say I have to do, but that I don’t necessarily enjoy doing that much.

After a long period of being away from the ‘gym’ starting again required some weeks of just ‘ticking the box’ or TTB….eventually I work my way through the pains of doing it and it once again it became a healthy habit I enjoy and even look forward to. That’s a rare argument in favour of just TTB.

Now, have you asked yourself how many things you do each day, that fall into that category of just TTB? Are some of those things required, can you scrap them? Do we need them? Sometimes they are activities that deliver very little benefit other than to remove a guilt feeling and possibly just please others. They have just become habits and are seriously worthy of stopping. Today, most of us are overloaded with information and struggle to find time to do all the things we really love doing, hence meticulous, well thought out time management plays a key role in improving the quality of our lives.

So true…think about it!

Here is my approach, far from perfect but I think I am on the right track. I am curious and easily become distracted, …that’s a nice way of saying I fringe on the ADD. I wake up in good time but usually end up rushing to work, because somewhere along the way I got sidetracked…backgammon on the toilet, changing shirts or deciding to cook a fancy breakfast….I’ve always got more things to do than time available, and that winds me up, it’s frustrating when you have worked hard all day, but have so many things left undone. This is commonplace and accounts for a great deal of stress and frustration, so much so that I decided to take matters in hand and address it proactively…so what do I do apart from writing on Medium?

Getting up early is one of the best tips I can give anyone …

I try and start my day as early as I reasonably do, it’s easier if you get to bed early but either way just do it. I have made a massive effort to live fairly close to work, and have successfully saved myself some valuable time on commuting. I wake up around 05.30, consciously do not get into my phone, just check the time and set 15 minutes aside for some ‘connect with myself’ time. I stretch, fart and leak…I smile and wash my face with cold water. I might do Wim Hof’s breathing exercises or another of the numerous relaxation/ self connect practices…then it is green smoothy, get the coffee pot out which hopefully sets off the old gastrocolic reflex and ends up in me lightening my load, washing up, dressing and being on my to work in good time.

Arriving to work early, takes all the pressure off me, I have the upper hand from the start ….I set up my work station, review my schedule, meetings etc….list one essential task and prioritise the others, so that by 17.30 I can head home. I can work late, sometimes I do, but it is risky business working late and personally not worth it. Go home on time, exercise, connect with your loved ones and take some magic time to do something that you are really passionate about, don’t clutter this busy schedule with TTB activities, do meaningful tasks you love that provide positive biofeedback.

A few of my quick don’ts

  • Don’t watch TV
  • Don’t pick more than one story to read in detail, browse headlines, most of it is bullshit …

A few quick do’s

  • Talk to your family, ask each other about the day’s highlights and connect with each other…it’s a great question to ask yourself each day
  • Call a loved one
  • Do something relaxing …candlelight bath and dream up some good ideas

There is no time to waste, avoid pointless TTB activities…good luck, be blessed and well…