This clock is well past noon this warm June Sunday and I still have a mild-to-moderate headache from the night of cognac drinking at my father-in-law’s Southern Vietnamese Naval reunion last night. As I was laying on my couch trying to shake the hangover, which I realize are way worse in your 30s than your 20s, I decided it’s time to start writing again. I feel like writing, whether for myself or for strangers on the Internet to read, recenters my mind. It helps me focus on what I need to be doing instead of constantly spinning my wheels trying to get a grip on what’s important.

What is important? That’s a question I keep pushing myself to come back to as often as I can remember it. I can go days without remembering. But when I do remember, which writing helps me do, the clarity it brings is second to none.

My Number 1 Thing

What is important? Each morning I write out my “most important tasks” which I stole from Leo Babauta. A few days ago I changed it up. Above the MITs I added “My Number 1 Thing” and “Next Up”. Why? To help me recenter myself back on what is important. The MITs can quickly become a to-do list that gets ignored and never accomplished. In fact that’s where I’ve found myself for the past several weeks and months. I say these things are important on this little digital notepad but I struggle to get them done or I get them done and they ultimately don’t move the needle and don’t get me to where I want to go. So I’ve simplified it — “My Number 1 Thing” is it. It’s what my whole day needs to be centered around. I won’t always get to my number one thing first thing in the day. It just doesn’t happen sometimes — like being hungover on your Sunday morning then having to take your wife and mother-in-law to the Vietnamese shopping center that is 45 minutes away. Or when your number one thing has to happen after working a full day with a long commute. There’s a zillion other things I could do and want to do. Some could be beneficial like working on a blog post for EVF or running or whatever. Or they could be chilling watching House of Cards. Regardless they aren’t my number one thing. That’s why right away in the morning I have to say, “okay I’m going to do my number one thing at this time and it’s non-negotiable”.

One could ask, “But Josh, if your number one thing today is doing a thorough review why are you writing this instead?” Well, my head is not right to start working on my number one thing. My number one thing today requires my mind to be 100% there as doing my thorough review structures the next week+ of my life. Anddd at my current state I can’t do that.

Okay. I think that’s enough rambling out of me for today. I hope you were able to take something away from this.

– Josh