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“Thimble List” vs. Bucket List for Joy and Mindfulness

You know the phrase “stop and smell the roses?”

I always thought it sounded a little cheesy. But now that we’re in the seventh month of quarantine (wow!), I’m starting to think that whoever thought of that phrase has the right idea.

I used to be all about bucket lists, but I want to introduce you to the “Thimble List” — AKA “the stop and smell the roses list.” 

Bucket lists are where you put your big goals, like publishing a book or visiting a national park. These are great goals and bucket lists are an amazing way to keep track of them. 

But now that the COVID-19 pandemic has made our worlds feel smaller and slowed everything down, I’m all about focusing on gratitude — like stopping to smell the roses (through my mask, of course). 

Here’s how you can write a “Thimble List” to reduce your stress and start being more mindful.

1) Think about where you already find joy in your life.

Is your morning coffee or tea the highlight of your day? Or walking your dog in the evening? Taking a long bath? 

Brainstorm a few things in your routine that are already making you feel happy.

Then think about why those things make you happy. These are things you can add to your Thimble List, such as “notice the trees changing on my walk” and “practice gratitude for the smell of my coffee.”

2)  Keep it fresh. 

If you’re having trouble thinking about what brings you joy in your current routine, think about the things that you miss from the pre-COVID world. How can you bring elements of those things into your life? 

Add something like “start looking for birds whenever I’m outside” to your Thimble List. (I’ve become obsessed with doing this by the way and love the Merlin Bird ID app to help identify my new friends.)

You’ll be surprised by how big and beautiful familiar places feel when you start trying to notice new things.  

3) Prioritize what brings you happiness.

Once you know what small, everyday things bring you joy, make sure multitasking isn’t undermining your mindfulness. Give yourself enough time to really enjoy that bath or cup of coffee or tea.

If you try to rush through it, you won’t really enjoy it and you’ll probably be more stressed and less productive that day. 

This is similar to the Japanese idea of kotsu-kotsu, which is doing one thing at a time and really focusing on that thing.

Making a Thimble List helps you take advantage of all the opportunities for joy that are already present in your daily routine. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – sometimes you need to look at your day through the eyes of an intern. It will help you gain a new perspective of how awesome it really is. 

What’s on your Thimble List? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Checklist to Take Your Remote Office on the Go

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BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

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If you’ve been working remotely because of the pandemic, by now you’ve probably got some of the basics down — where in your home you work, what your hours are, and what you wear. (Although I have my opinions about the Zoom shirt…)

If you want some guidance on putting together a great home office, you can check out my LinkedIn Learning course Organizing Your Remote Office For Maximum Productivity

But what happens when you need to take your remote office on the go?

It’s important to do some planning so that you can be productive wherever you are.

2) Take a look at your tasks.

The first list you need to make is a list of everything you need to get done while you’re away from home. 

Go day-by-day and figure out what your tasks are. I like to make a daily to-do list for every day, including while I’m traveling. Be reasonable about what you can actually get done each day. 

And remember, it’s okay if your list has “watch a movie” or “read a chapter of a book” on the list — you need to plan for relaxation time too! 

These daily to-do lists are key because from here you can decide what needs to come with you on the trip.

2) Make a list of what equipment you need.

These are the items you can’t work without having. For me, that’s my laptop, my phone, a tripod, and a microphone. I’ll need these every day to get my work done. 

See what you reach for in your home office and add it to the list. 

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NEW COURSE: Want to learn more about how to adjust to working remotely? You can check out my new LinkedIn Learning course, Organizing Your Remote Office for Maximum Productivity. Click here for access!

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3) Test that list!

Once you’ve identified what you need, try working a day with just those items. Is there anything you thought you’d need that you don’t use? Or things you didn’t think you would need that are essential? 

If there are specific tools or items that you only need sometimes, take a look at your calendar and make sure you’re aware of what’s in store for the time you’ll be away from home. Then you can tailor your essential items list to what you’ll be doing each day. 

4) Plan for connectivity.

Most of us need WiFi to get work done, so you need to do some research before you leave to make sure you’ll be connecting to the internet.

Remember that funny scene from the movie RV when Robin Williams is wandering around a campground trying to connect to the internet so he can send a presentation while he’s on vacation? You want to avoid that situation.

Call ahead to where you’re staying to see what the WiFi situation is there. You should try to bring a backup internet source if you can — connecting to a hotspot using your phone is one option. 

5) Go with the flow!

It’s inevitable that something will happen that you can’t predict. And that’s okay!

It’ll help you feel more relaxed if you accept that you can’t control every single detail when it comes to taking your work on the road.

Whether you’re going on the road for a business trip or a working vacation, planning is key to staying productive when you’re away from home.

You can check out my LinkedIn Learning course for even more ideas on how to take your remote office on the go.

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BRAND NEW: Want to learn more about how to adjust your office setup to working remotely? Check out my new LinkedIn Learning course, Organizing Your Remote Office for Maximum Productivity. Click here for access!

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This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Behind the Scenes of My LinkedIn Learning Shoot

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

I was supposed to be in LA shooting my two LinkedIn Learning courses based on my books Listful Thinking and Listful Living

But because of Covid-19, I obviously couldn’t get on a plane and travel.

Instead, LinkedIn sent me all the equipment to shoot the courses in my apartment. My husband Jay helped me set up the lights and camera, and he even ran the teleprompter! 

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Write a Letter To Your Future Self About COVID-19

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

Before I decided to start my own business as an author, speaker, and media trainer, I worked as a senior health producer for television news. Even though I loved my job, the time came when I realized I wanted to move on. 

The day I realized I needed a change, I wrote myself a long email about how I was feeling. I used an app called Boomerang for Gmail to schedule the email to arrive in my inbox one year later.

I knew that if I didn’t document how I was feeling in that moment, I would be able to trick myself into forgetting that it was time for me to start something new. 

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Designing Happier, Less Stressful Lives After the Covid-19 Pandemic

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

A few years ago, I had a wake-up call that put my life on hold — my appendix burst! I was in the hospital for nine days and home from work for six weeks. 

During that time, I realized that there were some things that I didn’t want to put back on my to-do list after I recovered.

That experience made me rethink my priorities. As I mention in my book, Listful Living: A List Making Journey to a Less Stressed You, slowing down is prioritizing on steroids. 

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