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Beat Stress, Boost Energy: Ultimate Weekly Self-Care Checklist

Are you struggling to make time for self-care in your busy life? Creating a personalized weekly self-care checklist can be a game-changer for your health and happiness.

By organizing your week and prioritizing your well-being, you can reduce stress, increase productivity, and cultivate a greater sense of balance.

In this article, I share proven strategies for crafting the ultimate self-care checklist that will help you thrive. And by “thrive,” I mean that you will end up looking better, feeling better, and achieving more of your personal goals.

Survive or Thrive? Weekly Self-care Checklist for Your Busy Life

Thriving is both an art and a science. The key to increasing happiness in modern life is to simplify your typical day:

  • each fracture in your day drains your energy and – ultimately – diminishes your quality of life.
  • a well-crafted self-care checklist helps you to focus.

Checklists can help improve your fitness while increasing your positive feelings of accomplishment. The motivational video lower within this article can help you get started.

While every lifetime must contain its challenges, the purpose of organizing systems is to reduce the unnecessary stress of day-to-day living.

It’s the unnecessary stress of life that can sneak up on you and dampen your well-being.

A checklist can help you be even more organized than you are right now.

  • This article will help you to start designing your own ideal weekly workout schedule.
  • It will also provide the tools you need to create your own individually tailored checklist system – to take your organizing skills to the next level.

Is Your Schedule Draining Your Energy? A Self-Care Checklist Will Help

There is a connection between being organized and living a joyful life.

By getting more done in less time, you:

  • create space – giving yourself more time with loved ones or friends – instead of giving them your energy leftovers.
  • have more time to take care of yourself.

To improve your self-care and upgrade your health protocols, you must find the time and energy for it. And that means finding the schedule that works best for you.

dane findley using checklist
article by Dane Findley

A Perfect Self-Care Schedule Allows for Abundant, Quality Sleep

The foundation of good health is a beautiful night’s sleep. Sleep is a key to optimal self-care.

If you’re only sleeping six to seven hours a night, that is suboptimal.

I encourage you to consult with your medical doctor so that you can make the habit modifications necessary to sleep deeply and restoratively every single night.

good sleep essential self-care and can be added to a checklist
You can experiment with your eating and sleep schedule to further optimize your self-care.

Many researchers believe that sleeping deeply is one of the self-care strategies that can lead to a long and healthy lifespan.

In the past, I’ve had significant success in my prolonged experiments of waking up unusually early each morning.

Many times in my life – usually for 3-month periods – I’ve been able to go to bed each night at 8:15 p.m. and awaken the next morning at 4:15 a.m.

During these periods, I’m able to accomplish more.

Not everyone is a “morning person,” of course, but the point of experimenting with your bedtime is not to force you into being an early riser; instead, the point is to discover what your own body’s natural rhythms are and then to use that as a basis for creating an optimal schedule.

How Setting Boundaries Helps You to Optimize Your Schedule

During those periods of waking each morning at 4:15 am, I soon discovered that if I’m going to make it to bed before 8:30 p.m., then I have to say “no” more often:

  • “no” to working late at the office
  • “no” to restaurant dinner engagements

By the end of those three months, I always seem to have reached a new expert level at setting healthy boundaries.

An Improved Checklist Brings Increased Clarity

It’s counterintuitive, but when you allocate more time toward self-care, your personal productivity will likely improve.

Though the initial adjustment to a new schedule can cause a few moments of strain, once the initial shock is gone, you begin to develop a heightened sense of awareness.


Rising each morning will provide you with more calm moments – moments that are less possible when you’re rushing to get ready for work from the moment you set foot out of bed.

By rising early, you’ll have time to enjoy the morning calmly and set your intentions for the day ahead.

In my case, I could arrive at my desk earlier and get some outrageously effective work done before the rest of the world got hectic, and the emails and calls started flooding in.

If you happen to have kids at home, getting yourself to bed sooner each night will subsequently give you more quiet time in the morning before everyone in your home wakes up, and things get louder and more harried.

Beware the Trap of Late-Night Eating

Arriving home after work around 5:30 p.m., my new schedule meant I was forced to begin my evening wind-down rather than continue pursuing this-or-that project, as I was previously accustomed to doing.

avoid late-night eating
Schedule your sleep, and avoid late-night eating.

As the experiment progressed, I perceived the need to shift my evening meal relative to my new schedule. Ceasing to eat at least two hours before sleep was an important step to aid my body’s natural metabolic cycle and ensure a restful night’s slumber.

How to Wake Up Lean

It took me decades to figure this out: the way to wake up feeling well-rested – without bloat or puffiness and with a flat stomach – is not to have any grains or flour after 4 pm.

Two good examples of an anti-inflammatory dinner are a Super Salad or a Turkey Sauté.

A super salad is not like a side salad of iceberg lettuce and two wedges of rubbery tomato.

A super salad is a meal unto itself.

Each person gets their own big bowl – a colorful and crunchy array of organic greens and fresh in-season vegetables tossed in lemon juice, olive oil, Himalayan rock salt, and herbs –and then topped with slices of cage-free hard-boiled eggs. As an alternative, vegans can have cubes of tempeh that have been warmed in a skillet.

turkey dinner variation

A turkey sauté is free-range, organic turkey cooked in a ceramic skillet with diced garlic and fresh parsley, mushrooms, celery, zucchini, red bell pepper, Celtic sea salt, white pepper, cayenne, herbs and topped with diced heirloom tomatoes, and avocado.

Tip: make sure not to let the coconut oil “smoke” in the pan. Keep the heat set to medium or medium-high, and use a lid on your pan. As an alternative, you can use avocado oil.

Paying closer attention to what you eat and drink after 4 pm is a pivotal step toward improving your own self-care. Your body has a lot of work to do while you sleep each night – repairing and restoring cells and systems – and you want to give it all the assistance you can.

Remember, There Are Stages of Change

Why are some people able to make permanent and positive improvements in their life, and others are not?

That question has been relentlessly researched and answered. When it comes to the science of making new lifestyle changes “stick,” what has been well-studied yet remains little-known is: when people acquire new good habits, it’s most often because they move through the five stages of permanent change.

As you undertake the task of making self-care improvements to your typical schedule, you can leverage these stages to your benefit.

By being careful to move through each of the five distinct stages – without skipping any – you can succeed in developing new, good, life-improving habits.

In the video below, I touch on what each of these stages means; however, the key piece is this: when people are unsuccessful at making changes stick, it’s because they skip over stage 3: preparation.

This means any habit you haven’t been able to stick within the past – whether it’s going to bed 30 minutes earlier each evening, eating an extra serving of vegetables each day, or doing fitness training four times a week – is likely because you tried to skip over stage 3 (preparation) and move directly into stage 4 (action).

So, how do you do stage 3 effectively?

You can begin by asking yourself some simple questions and answering them as honestly as you can:

  • how will I adopt this new habit?
  • when will I do it, exactly?
  • where will I do it?
  • with whom will I hold myself accountable?
  • for what real reason am I doing this?

The Stage 3 process does not take long, yet it makes all the difference.

Leveling Up Your Lifestyle: Crafting Your Ideal Weekly Self-Care Checklist

You were invited to start crafting your ideal week of exercise, kickstarting that process in four simple steps – by blocking out one hour each week for walking, one hour each week for mobility, one hour each week for cardio, and one hour each week for strength training.

couple outdoors exercising because their new checklist system has them more organized

Now is a good time to begin thinking about other facets of your week, too.

While each of us is given a finite 168 hours per week to fill how we choose, you have more time than you think. Author Laura Vanderkam suggests planning ahead – in order to leverage your leisure time:

  • choose a small number of activities that bring you the most happiness
  • at least one of those happiness activities has to include family or friends
  • create blocks of time in your schedule for these activities
  • commit enough time, energy, and resources to make them meaningful
  • use bits of time for bits of joy
  • if there aren’t enough hours in the week to do all you want, and something has to “go,” then always reduce your television viewing time first.

Again, please remember (using your new standing-appointment template) to block out one hour each week for a happiness activity that involves family and/or friends.

That means you now have at least five standing self-care appointments each week – and those periods are blocked out on your schedule.

The key takeaway here is to understand that, yes, there are solutions for finding time to workout each day and for getting enough sleep each night, and I encourage you to experiment with your own self-care schedule and see where it leads you.

Organizing Checklists testimonial

“Dane’s system provides concise, easy to understand, specific instructions for people who want to get organized using a checklist – beginning with a simple, yet powerful, manifesto. No specific forms or software are required leaving the format up to each unique and, soon to be organized, happy person.”  — Paul Puckett, Asset Portfolio Manager

What is a Weekly Review?

I first learned about the weekly review concept from David Allen of Getting Things Done. The idea behind a weekly review is that one hour of good planning will save you several more hours in the long run.

A weekly review is the one hour you set aside each week to work on your business instead of in your business.

It’s not a time to complete tasks on your to-do list; instead, it’s the time to map out your week ahead and what you hope to accomplish.

Whether you work in a cubicle, run a large company, or are a homemaker, it’s a good idea to spend a little time each week looking at your life from the perspective of a “higher altitude” and reconnecting with your overall intentions and short-term goals.

The three most popular times for organized people to do their weekly review seem to be:

  • anytime on Sunday
  • Friday afternoons
  • early Monday mornings

For me, my favorite day for the weekly review is Sunday. It’s quieter, with fewer distractions.

However, if Sundays are out of the question for you, you might prefer Fridays – particularly if your work schedule is that of a more conventional 9-to-5’er, you can fully organize your desk so that when you arrive back on Monday morning, you can hit the ground running.

For me, doing my weekly productivity review on Sundays helps reacquaint me with my immediate targets for the coming week – and then the next morning (on Monday) everything is still fresh in my head.

The good news is that your weekly review only has to take one hour (two, if you have an especially ambitious week ahead), and you’ll still be able to spend your Sundays having quality time with your loved ones.

The reason I think Sundays are an ideal day for gauging your productivity is that the business and professional world fires up again on Monday morning. Your Review process will help you be poised for success and stay in front of the pack the following day.

“…a weekly productivity review allows you to look at how you process your work during a typical week – this fresh perspective will then help you to prioritize even better”

But whether it’s on a Sunday, a Friday, or whatever day of the week, the point here is not when but rather to determine what particular day of the week works best with your unique circumstances and then to make that day a “set thing.” Pick an hour, on the same day and time every week, and make that your ritual, weekly-review event.

best week using personalized workout plan

A weekly review allows you to focus on the various categories of one’s workflow, and then, the perspective gained from these reviews can drive one’s priorities.

Basic Steps of a Good Weekly Review Plan

One of the big ideas here is to simply create a little space to get a clear perspective on your week. It’s a way to turn off all the outside noise for a moment so fresh ideas can bubble up to the forefront of your mind. Then you can determine the priority of those individual tasks that you see need doing.

Read Your Intention and Short-Term Goals Aloud

I start most group meetings by first announcing what I believe the overall intention of the meeting actually is. Well, a meeting with just yourself can begin similarly. Take a few seconds to reaffirm what the intention of your life is. It’s like your own personal mission statement.

checklist creates perspective

Next, take a moment to acknowledge a few of your most important short-term goals, both professional and personal.

Spend Five Minutes Identifying Your Givers

One of the most significant self-care lessons I have learned so far in my life is that a healthy way to achieve increased success is to “give to your givers.”

If you can determine who during this last week was most generous to you and then provide those people with extra support and gratitude, you will be rewarded in the long run. Many people make the mistake of giving to their “squeaky wheels.”

People either enhance your energy or drain it. Period. End of story.

Take a few moments during each weekly review to determine who the Givers in your life have been recently, and allow yourself to feel the positive feelings and appreciation that are present within you.

Clean Your Desk

The weekly review is a way to get some true perspective on your workweek.

It usually feels good to get that email inbox whittled way down – to zero if you can. You perfect specimens of productivity out there will already have your inbox at zero and kept at zero, every day. But for the rest of us mere mortals, the inbox has a way of stockpiling as the week progresses. So now is your chance to cull through that email inbox and turn emails into your own next-action steps, delegate them to someone else, or delete them.  Do, delegate, or delete.

TIP: Do this step quickly. Don’t get pulled down the rabbit hole that is your inbox.

For those of you who have “hard” inboxes (the old-fashioned kind), this step is when you would go through that box, too. For those of you who are, ahem, less than perfectly organized, your entire desk may function as, essentially, one big “inbox,” so your weekly review is the time to tidy the top of your desk.

For remote pros who work desk-less, tidy up your laptop computer’s desktop instead.

As you move through your inboxes, you will begin identifying action steps for the week ahead.

Update Your Checklist and Calendar

In a perfect world, your to-do list would have been updated throughout that week in real-time – from moment to moment.  But let’s face it, sometimes the week gets away from us.

Your weekly review is an opportunity to polish up your to-do list and to identify what tasks next week will be your most revenue-producing in the coming week and also which tasks have been hanging around your list for a long time that you seem to keep putting off (we call those your “frogs”).

And remember those Givers that you identified above in Step Two? It’s likely that you’ll be adding a couple of items to your checklist that involve giving back to your Givers, such as returning a call or sending them a handwritten personal note.

Dane Findley age 54 helps others achieve stellar wellness and a healthier physique.
Dane has a master’s in Depth Counseling and has spent decades as a professional fitness and Pilates trainer. Today, Dane is a Healthy Lifestyle Advocate who curates the popular Quality of Life Newsletter – a free weekly update for those who want to UP their joy levels.

By the way, I use four checklists as part of my own productivity system. Only one of my lists is digital (my one-off professional tasks are kept online so that my team and I can collaborate and add notes to each other’s lists), but the rest of my lists I like to keep old-school: printed on paper and clipped each to its own clipboard.

My paper lists are: my quotidian (tasks I like to complete every single day), my personal one-offs (errands and such), and my once-each-week tasks. My personal one-offs list is hand-written, and now is the time (during my weekly review) that I print up fresh copies of my quotidian and my once-a-week lists.

“Momentum really is the most important aspect of deliberate creation that you could consciously contemplate. Because what momentum says is: Once you get going in that direction, it is more likely that you will continue in that direction.” — Abraham-Hicks

Okay, so now you should be approaching the end of your hour. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

One of the last activities you’ll want to do in your weekly review is to glance one final time at your calendar for the week ahead. Your calendar is probably color-coded with a different color for professional appointments, standing appointments, and personal appointments. I hope in your calendar there is at least:

  • one coffee get-together with a buddy
  • a romantic date with your significant other
  • and, for Pete’s sake, there had better be at least one workout scheduled in there somewhere!

To kickstart your organized lifestyle, I created a digestible, easy-to-follow free report that shepherds you through creating your own checklist system, step-by-detailed-step. For access, opt-in to my email updates.

Brilliant Checklists testimonial

“Dane Findley is an authentic thought-leader who understands his own investment in making the world a better place. His new report for getting organized, The Technique, is the missing piece in the crowded world of online advice in that he speaks to the spirit in us that yearns for a better life. Particularly poignant are the benefits he outlines to being more productive and organized: having time for more kindness, compassion and deepening relationships.

Findley provides the opportunity to fine-tune his tips into a personal routine that works for each individual. He offers lists for the reader to complete that include ‘daily’ as well as once-a-week goals and considers that some people will focus on professional development and others on personal. This is a workbook with soul which I can highly recommend” — Miri Dunn, Author

Boosting Well-Being with a Weekly Self-Care Checklist • [Video]

You can have your best week ever.

Most organized people have some variation of a “weekly review” for planning their next week ahead.

If you do a weekly review consistently, then you will notice that, over time, you are getting more done, reaching goals faster, and having more feelings of accomplishment throughout the week.

“One of the tricks to getting organized is to implement a system called ‘the weekly review.’”

Conducting a brief but thorough weekly review will likely help you to have your best week ever.

Compelling Reasons to Use a Checklist

When you’re organized, you use time more effectively – and when you’re able to get more done in less time, it creates more extra free time for you to enjoy life’s pleasures.

However, everyone falls off the productivity horse sometimes. These hints can help get you productive again so you can arrive at end of your day – and your week –  fit, hydrated, and optimistic.

Even though the technique of keeping a current checklist of things to do will help you to reach your fitness goals, that’s not even the primary reason why I endorse it. Here are two better reasons:

Crafting a Checklist is Like Meditating

The process of crafting a to-do list helps you spill the contents of your noisy mind onto paper so that you can feel better and free up space to think more creatively. It creates serenity.

The Process Itself Is Clarifying

List-making refocuses your energy.

One research study highlighting the benefits of checklists comes from Nagasaki University in Japan and examines the impact of using checklists for learning. The results showed that checklists help the user to learn a new process, memorize a new pattern of behavior, and deepen the concept or purpose behind the checklist.

The study revealed that a list can organize your obligations, helping you stay focused while tracking progress toward your personal goals – and established that lists enhance productivity and instill a sense of accomplishment within you as you systematically check off completed tasks.

It’s true that everyone has a different metabolism and everyone processes information differently, and you might be tempted to think that you’re not a list-making type of person – that you’re too in the moment, too creative… or too tired.  But, really, all types of people benefit from using a checklist, and the trick is to figure out which type you are.

“list-making helps you to realign with your motivation and clarity”

3 Ways People Get Motivated

Primarily, there are three types of people: those that scribble down their to-do lists at night, those that make their lists in the morning, and those that keep an ongoing list on their computer in real-time.

Night Owls

The night folks like to empty their brains before bed to relax and sleep better. They sit at the dining room table for a few minutes in the evening and visualize their day for tomorrow, writing down everything that comes to mind.

Early Risers

Unlike the night people, the day folks think more clearly in the a.m. – and like to take a few moments in the morning to write down what they want to accomplish that same day, usually while having tea or coffee.

mature couple holding hands on beach after having completed a checklist

Tech-Savvy People

Tech-Savvy People are these gadgety folks that habitually keep an eye on their phones’ project management and list-making apps.

The advantage to doing it the tech-savvy way is that you don’t have to keep re-writing unfinished tasks onto a new list (although some people want to do it this way, as it encourages them to get things done on the first day).

I use Asana, because I access it from anywhere and because I want my business partner and my assistant to have access to my list, too. You can use it on your desktop or smartphone. I also keep lists and documents on Google Drive, one of the best tools available online – in my opinion.

Another advantage of going digital is that you can slide tasks easily up or down your list depending on their priority that day (though an old-fashioned hardcopy list works too because once you’re done writing your list, you can just scribble next to each individual task “A,” “B,” or “C” depending on its priority).

Which Task on my Checklist Should I Do First?

Hopefully, you’re convinced of the significant benefits of keeping a current task list, and also you’ve figured out what type of organizing person you are, and you’ve crafted a list of things you’d like to accomplish.

Now comes the daunting part – you must figure out how to jump on the list and get at that first task.

As challenging as that may seem, it actually is pretty simple:

Checklist Option: Start with Whichever Task Is the Most Revenue-Producing

This does not have to be a corporate office/spreadsheet kind of process. State-of-the-art homemakers, too, can prioritize their lists based on revenue.

For instance, if one item on your list reads “return shower curtain to Target,” well, that’s a revenue-producing task because, at the end of it, you will have ten dollars more in your pocket.

Or, let’s say that you have a satellite radio subscription at home, but you haven’t hooked it up yet. Well, you’re paying for it, but you’re not enjoying it, so if you either cancel the subscription or finish hooking up your speakers – either way, you’re creating more value for your money, so that’s “revenue-producing.”

Checklist Option: Do the Task that Has Been on your List the Longest

Come on; you know that task I’m talking about:  the one that’s been lingering on your list for ages and is now all covered in metaphorical dust.

Sometimes it feels energizing just to knock that sucker out and get it done, finally.

Checklist Option: Do the Task that You Least Want to Do

There’s always that one task that makes you go, “bleh.”

It can be very empowering just to finish that task so that it no longer haunts you and drains your emotional energy.  You’ll be left with an exhilarating sense of accomplishment.

Conclusion on Using a Self-Care Checklist to Unlock Your Best Week

Implementing a weekly self-care checklist is a powerful tool for taking control of your health and happiness.

By dedicating time to activities that nourish your body, mind, and spirit, you’ll be better equipped to handle life’s challenges and savor its joys.

Remember, self-care isn’t selfish – it’s essential for living your best life. Start crafting your personalized checklist today and experience the transformative benefits of prioritizing your well-being.

Additional Sources on Creating a Weekly Self-Care Checklist:

So you think you can become a morning person? New York Times: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/so-you-think-you-can-be-a-morning-person/

What to do when you have dozens of unfinished projects. Pick The Brain: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/do-you-have-dozens-of-unfinished-projects-heres-what-to-do/

How to think about debt: http://www.successwithmoney.com/how-to-think-about-debt/

Checklist research studies establish “Checklist Implementation Improves Team Productivity,” “47% Drop in Serious Mistakes by Using Checklist,” and “Decrease in Needed Brain Processing and Retention Improves Likelihood of Responsible Decision Making:”

  • http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/28934/checklists-improve-productivity
  • https://goo.gl/PpmI9T

You Have More Time Than You Think – http://lauravanderkam.com/books/168-hours/

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