“Hey Ca, whatchya doin’?”

”Writing a list…obv.”

Ca is the busiest person I know, and lists are the single best way for her to get everything out of her head. If she doesn’t get it all on to a list, she can’t think clearly and the day spirals.

Lists are helpful that way, aren’t they?

Back in July, I filled a notebook with over 100 lists and thought I’d start this mini-series and share these prompts with you.

Just like Ca, maybe they’ll help you get a few things out of your head so you can clear the brain fog and think in a straight line 🙂

This first one is a list I keep coming back to.

I’ve written my own version a dozen times, and I’ve helped others write theirs, too.

This list can make dark days brighter, and tough days kinder.

List #1 – Things that make me feel better / Things that make me feel worse

OK, so it’s really two lists, but it’s handy if you write them together.

The plan is to keep this series short and sweet…so, it’s over to you now.

Get your piece of paper, the back of an envelope will do, and write your list 🙂

Here’s mine



October was a good month for reading for me. A mix of business and personal interest, and I finished my first book on Churchill! I find that I’m getting too distracted by books that I haven’t planned to read and I’ve also been buying a lot of books recently. I wanted to get to the end of the year having read a number of books on Churchill along with Einstein and DaVinci…but I haven’t made much progress in that area. I don’t want to set myself up to fail, but I’d like to make sure that between now and the end of 2020 I put some serious time into the lives of these interesting people.

Here’s what I read in October 2020 along with a short review…

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My letters are typically published via email to your inbox, and I select a few every now and again to feature on the blog. Letter XVIII was originally published by email on 17th March 2020, and was re-published on the blog on 17th March 2020. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

It’s noisy out there in the world. In my head, too. 

I can feel it. Vibrating inside me. Like all my molecules and atoms are bouncing off each other. 

It’s affecting my attention. I’m constantly distracted. It’s exhausting. 

It’s times like this when writing lists help me to get some perspective and get a grip of what’s going on in my head before it gets out of control. 

I’m a work in progress, just like you. Which means I don’t have all the answers and I certainly can’t solve the problems happening in the world right now. 

But I can always write a list. And lists make sense, at least for me.

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My letters are typically published via email to your inbox, and I select a few every now and again to feature on the blog. Letter XVII was originally published by email on 23rd February 2020, and was re-published on the blog on 16th March 2020. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

Six months ago I wound down my business and accepted a full-time role at IMPACT – a leading marketing company in the US. 

The burden of owning, running and managing my own company has been lifted, leaving me to focus solely on doing my best work in one area. Every day I get to do only what I’m good at and because I’m only doing that, I’m quickly getting very good at it. 

It’s like a dream come true for me, but I struggled with the transition. It’s only now, 4 months in, that I’m starting to settle into a different approach to my work. 

For the past ten years or so, I’ve consistently set goals and planned my year, but rolling into 2020 was different. I just couldn’t figure out what my year was going to look like. Thanks to Chris Brogan’s ‘three-word’ exercise, I was able to set a theme for the year and let go of any in-depth goal setting. I’m still only using these three words as my guide:

  1. Move
  2. Write
  3. Excel

It took me weeks to find a word that defined doing my best work, and I eventually settled on Excel

On the face of it, doing your best work is easy to understand and you may believe that you already do your best work.

However, for me, there is a lot of work to do in setting the physical and mental conditions for doing my best work. I’m still working on it. Naturally, I turned to my journal and I wrote a note to myself to remind me what I need to think about, and what needs to happen to do my best work. It’s not as simple as you may think. 

I thought it would be helpful for you to read through this. It’s certainly not complete, but it may get you thinking about things you need to change in your situation to allow you to do better work. 

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My letters are typically published via email to your inbox, and I select a few every now and again to feature on the blog. Letter XIII was originally published by email on 24th July 2019, and was re-published on the blog on 13th December 2019. Subscribe at chrismarr.co.uk

Self-awareness is the key to being a better person. At home: a better parent, a better sibling, and a better friend. At work: a better teacher, a better coach, a better consultant and a better leader. 

However, it’s not easy to obtain. You can’t just snap your fingers and suddenly become ‘self-aware’. At least that’s not my experience. 

When you don’t have it, you don’t know you need it. When you know you need it, you find out you’ve got a lot of work to do on it. When you begin to dial in your self-awareness, you start to realise that almost everyone is living their life without it. And to top it off, you can’t give it to people that don’t know they need it. 

Self-awareness is a daily practice of observing others and your own behaviour. You make small corrections each day – sometimes you do well, and other times you have to learn from your mistakes. 

There’s a question in The Five Minute Journal that I believe to be the most important question to ask yourself at the end of the day – “How could I have made today even better?”

Some people find this question uncomfortable – why end the day on a low point? But that’s not why we ask this question of ourselves. We ask it so we can understand how we can learn from the past, and be better in the future. What could I have done differently today, that I can learn from and apply to tomorrow? 

For me, that’s what self-awareness is all about. The ability to correct your thinking, behaviour and actions a little each day so you can be a better person.

To those around you, it might not seem like there’s a lot happening day-to-day, but after a year, 5 years, 20 years, people will see the change in you. 

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