At 16, I discovered the best way to be productive: narrow down your to-do list to one thing only.
I called it MIT – not the university, but as in Most Important Task.
I found that reducing your to-do list to one big thing not just simplifies the day, it’s also way more efficient than shooting a dozen little things.
Six years have gone by.
This morning I woke up and realized something: my Most Important Task is to simply make myself happy.
What makes you happy?
It’s a simple (even trite) yet essential question to ask yourself each morning.
It’s usually the little things. Friends. Music. Books. Nature. Dogs. Sex. Coffee. Love. Moleskine notebooks. Guacamole. The beach. The Beach Boys. Learning something new. Laughing until your belly hurts. Running. Swimming. Hiking. Bicycle. Surfing. Yoga. Pilates. Meditation. Goat cheese. Red wine. White wine. Fresh mint tea.
But it can be the big things too. Getting a good day’s work. Being productive. Writing an interesting thought. Writing fiction for fun. Having a meaningful conversation with a new person. Calling someone you love. Saying no. Saying yes. Traveling. By train. Having a profound thought at 2 AM in the morning.
You should be willing to trade any money in the world and fame, and productivity, efficiency, status, achievement – for the sake of merely being happy.
You owe it to yourself.
No partner, no job, no book, no external thing will make you happy. Only you will. Only your actions will.
So do it. Today. Right now. It’s the simplest of things – taking care of our own happiness – yet, like many simple things, so often neglected.
Honestly, I suck at happiness. I worry too much. I complain. I cry. I get depressed. But I want to dedicate the next ~8 years of my life to figuring out how to make myself happy. By doing things that make me feel better. By saying stuff like this out loud.
Happiness is a skill. And like any skill, it’s best learned in practice.