8 Critical Things

I’m not a huge fan of Peter McKinnon and his hyper-polished hipster EDC snowmobile ATV drone renovation videos. But on occasion he strikes a chord. Witness I did this for 30 days and it changed my life, the mother of all clickbaity titles, but with a simple message:

Make a handwritten list of 8 critical things you need to accomplish at the start of every day. Then do them, crossing off as you go.

Not an original idea—indeed John Grimsmo does most of the explaining—but kind of brilliant in its simplicity.

I am on day number one.

So far from the list I’ve taken a bunch of stuff to the thrift shop, scraped some long-standing gunk off the library floor, and taken a bag of cables to the office.

Item four on today’s list: charge my bicycle lights. I figured if I was going to do it, I might as well make it easier for the next time, so I conjured up a system.


Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 11, 2021 - 22:27 Permalink

I’ve crossed off all 8 critical things two days in a row. Today was last minute: just washed the bathroom floor at 10:30 p.m.  

The motivation to cross things off, plus the desire to keep a streak going, seems more powerful than I anticipated. 

Andrea's picture
Andrea on July 14, 2021 - 13:49 Permalink

What counts as critical? I watched the original video but am now second-guessing myself on the quality of my tasks. I'm on day 3 and similarly, sent an email to someone just under the wire two nights ago, and am sure the recipient must have thought it odd. But you are right, that motivation is powerful. Thanks for this idea.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 14, 2021 - 14:29 Permalink

I have defined “critical” simply as “things that I know I don’t do if I don’t write them down.” So on my lists this week:

  • Clean upstairs toilet. 
  • Take used batteries to recycling.
  • Move the canoe. 
  • Mail the book. 
Andrea's picture
Andrea on July 14, 2021 - 15:34 Permalink

I sheepishly returned an extremely overdue library book (but turned out there was no fine because of the lockdowns) and it's such a relief to not have to think about it anymore.