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February Systems

For the past few weeks we've been talking about what we have the capacity, or energy, to do. Most of us don't run on high energy or even get close to it. I used to begin and end each day exhausted, feeling that there wasn't a point in trying until I felt better. I didn't feel better though until I made some changes. Other than mindset work, the first thing that changed my relationship with cleaning was to create a low-capacity (LC) list. This is what I want to help you do today.

Making a plan for when you're at LC is counter-intuitive. You feel as though all you can do is survive, which makes routines seem pointless. But this won't be complicated and it has the capacity to change you fundamentally. To me, creating a plan for when I have zero energy or motivation is far more powerful than feeling amazing and ticking twenty items from my to-do list.

Here's how to begin. Write down the things you know you can and will do when you're at LC. I'm not talking just chores, I'm referring to every single thing you know you can do on a daily basis. My list includes:

  1. Brushing my teeth (I know this will get done at least once, no matter how badly I feel)

  2. Feeding my kids (this will not be gourmet, but no one goes hungry)

  3. Feeding myself (even if it's chips and guac)

  4. Putting on clean underthings (sorry if this grosses you out, but I'm not helpful if I'm not honest, and honestly I don't shower daily when I'm feeling terrible)

  5. Stretching my back and hips (with AI diseases, this is one good thing I can do for my body, even if it's just a few minutes)

  6. Film and edit (content is my job so I do this at least six days a week)

  7. Power nap (I aim for twenty minutes but even if I close my eyes for five, I feel better)

  8. Two five minute tidy sessions (very basic stuff, usually involving the kitchen)

My list started out with fewer items than this and did not include tidying at all. I have dealt with depression, chronic pain, and fatigue for so long, that I was skeptical I could complete anything consistently. The only thing I thought I could do consistently was survive. So, my list began with feeding the kids and brushing my teeth and it has grown from there. Each time I realized that I was able to check off the items on my list with regularity, I felt empowered to add something else.

Remember to only include things you can do, no matter how basic. If your list needs to say, "1. turn off alarm 2. wear clothes 3. go to sleep," that is perfectly fine. Check off each item, every day. As you do this, your brain begins to notice that you are being consistent, even in your struggle. This expands your sense of self and creates a narrative that you are capable of doing what you say you'll do. It sounds simple but it has been groundbreaking for me.

Later this week we will talk about adding a few weekly items to the list, so keep your list handy. As always, let me know how you're doing and if you have questions.

Your friend,


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