What’s The Least You Could Do? Do That.

I know it’s going to be “one of those days” today.

I can already tell from the way I woke up that am just not feeling ‘it‘ today.  You know what I mean? You feel you either didn’t sleep enough, or you slept too much, your head hurts, your eyes – heavy, and you feel as though your mood didn’t get the memo that your mind had all of these productive plans for you to tackle today. 

grumble…grumble…

It doesn’t matter that I took 10 minutes last night to plan out my day, just like those people who have their lives together suggest that I do. It doesn’t matter that I got my recommended 7-9 hours of sleep, nevermind the fact that I probably only had 2, maybe 3, REM cycles…if I was lucky. And it doesn’t matter that I drank water when I woke up, made my bed, opened my curtains for the light of the day to come through, nope, nope, nope. I followed all of the “rules”, played by the book, had a routine… all of which I know to be true to help and yet it wasn’t helping.

Today was just not happening for me.

I moped and pouted my way around for a while this morning, angry at the world for making me wake up in this mood with absolutely zero desire to do anything. I didn’t want to make breakfast, exercise, or go about my day doing all of those peppy, productive things I had planned. I could barely stand the thought of changing clothes*, how was I going to get anything done today?

*For the record, I did change clothes. I had put on jeans and a decent T-shirt, only to change back into sweatpants and a pullover not even 4 hours later. The point is, it was the least I could do.

“What’s the least I could do”,

I thought to myself. If I couldn’t stand to do anything today, then I could just muster enough energy to spend my day doing the “least I could do” for all of the things I had originally planned.

Sometimes we have ‘days’.

Having ‘days’ does not mean we quit, are lazy, are not working hard towards our goals, or that we are anything less than we are on any other day of the week, month, or year.

It’s the Universe’s way of either: A, testing us. Or B, telling us we need a freakin’ break to calm down and chill out.

Today, the Universe was telling me to chill out because I have been on hyper-drive this past week, working my butt off on endless mentally rigorous and physically laborious projects.

Doing the “least I could do” was my master plan for today. I wanted to find a good balance between surviving the day and owning the day. So, ok, I wasn’t going to exercise for a full 30 minutes or even take a shower (don’t judge), but I could at least stretch for 10 minutes, and take a bath (see, I cleaned up).  That, my friends, was the least I could do. And today, was a “least I could do” kind of day.

The day I had planned and the ‘least I could do day’ that actually happened looked a little like this:

The planned day

  • Get up at 7:00 AM, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
  • Make a green tea
  • Cook a delicious and elaborate breakfast complete with avocado toast, two sunny-side-up eggs, and chicken sausage. Yum!
  • Go for a run along the river trail for 30 minutes
  • Take a hot shower, put on nice clothes and do my hair
  • Clean the entire home (Wednesday is cleaning day); the dusting, sweeping, mopping, toilets, windows, vacuuming, trash, etc. AKA, the works.
  • Read something stimulating for 30 minutes to get my mind in a ‘work mood’ for planning my business and side hustle projects.
  • Make a delicious lunch, something like pumpkin ravioli with turkey bacon and feta cheese, drizzled with honey. Yes, I make good food.
  • Spend the afternoon in ‘work mode’, watching education videos for my coursework, working on my professional sites, finding more freelance work.
  • Make homemade chicken wings and homemade pizza for dinner. For real.
  • Do the full evening routine, which today, would have included: evening walk, making a pot of tea to enjoy in the loft while I read philosophy books, write an elaborate introspective piece in my journal, clean up from the day’s happenings, and pack for my day trip tomorrow.

The ‘least I could do’ day that actually happened

  • Finally get out of bed, groggy-eyed, and flat-tailed at 9:30 AM
  • Still made a green tea. Luckily it’s a 3-step process that I could do in my sleep. 
  • Made cereal. So much for the elaborate breakfast. I did add in a chopped banana, though, and that took effort.
  • Instead of the run, I stretched for 10 minutes. Ok, more like 5 minutes. But I also played with my cat and she likes to run around so that counts for something.
  • No shower, but I took a hot bath for 20 minutes. Much better choice. And I did put on real clothes, decent ones, and sort of fixed up my hair. A little. Basically, I brushed it.
  • Hooray – I did clean! Instead of ‘the works’, I did the ‘once over’. You know, I swept the areas that were obviously dirty, used a swiffer for like, a minute, vacuumed only the most used rooms of the house, and wiped down countertops. Still, it looks pretty clean in here.
  • Instead of reading a novel written by someone successful and who totally has it together and built their dream business or changed the world or something like that, (hey, I don’t need that kind of negativity today), I skimmed a few blogs. 
  • Lunch was frozen pizza. Nuff’ said.
  • For the afternoon, I worked. On my Netflix watching abilities, in my sweats, in bed. To be fair, I made myself a homemade coffee, and did send some work-related emails and spent about 25 minutes doing work-ish things. But that was the least I could do and that’s all I did. Then it was me, coffee, and a movie in bed.
  • Homemade chicken wings still happened, thank you very much. With another frozen pizza. 50% is still greater than 0% last time I checked.
  • The evening….well it’s evening now. I will not be packing for my trip but will think about packing for my trip. I will not be making a pot of tea but will make a cup. And instead of reading and learning some more, I am going to zone out with a magazine instead and maybe doodle in my journal instead of reflecting. 

And there you have it. That’s how you do the least you can do. Every day is not going to go according to plan. It’s impossible to always have it together. Even the people who claim to always have it together, don’t. I don’t know why people would claim that. And the ones who advise you to “give it your all” each day or to “suck it up” are giving you some pretty bad advice. It’s not about seeing how much you can do each day or killing yourself to get all of those things done that you said you would get done for the sole fact that you said you would. One day will not sabotage your goals or plans.

When life throws you a curve ball and you find yourself lacking the energy and lacking the motivation, all of those self-help types of blogs and books won’t necessarily help you. You know yourself better than those people do and sometimes those tricks to get motivated or find inspiration just don’t work. If you’re having one of those days, like I did today, ask yourself “what’s the least I could do” and go with it.