Take Care of Yourself & That To-Do List Too!


Image: The Real To-Do List print by karindrawings

More than 3 years ago when I started my business, my daily routine was chaotic. I was sewing out of the kitchen, so projects were put away and taken down throughout the day. I was making trips to the post office, elementary school, grocery store, and park. In the middle of changing diapers, making my own laundry soap and dinner I was trying to blog or tweet. I managed for a short while but it soon became overwhelming and I desperately needed to figure out a system that would not lead me straight to a crazy house or at the very least an entrepreneurial burn out.

I was longing for the creative outlet and the challenges of running my own business from home was tantalizing. Like many of us, who are able to work in our PJ’s- we’re striving for some chi harmony. I was determined to figure it all out. Today, I do all of the same things I mentioned earlier and homeschool my children. The difference now is that I’ve streamlined process, moved into my own creative space, schedule my time (loosely) and ask for help when I need it. In addition I’ve learned to not only nurture my family and my business, but also myself.  I believe that self lovin’ is the secret to maximizing your effectiveness. Becoming and staying productive isn’t about hard-to-follow programs or logging your every move in an app. It’s about self-care.

Here are daily to-dos to get you started:

1. Drink a glass of water.

A glass of water when you wake helps start your day fresh. Did you know that your body loses water while you sleep? So you’re naturally dehydrated in the morning.

When do you drink your first glass of water each day?

2. Make a list.

Every morning I ask myself, “What 3 tasks are most important today?” I try to prioritize my day accordingly and have trouble sleeping if I’m not able to check them off the list.

What’s your “Top 3” today?

3. Sweat daily.

Talk about an energy + mood boost! Plus it relieves stress! I can’t always make it to the gym, but on those days I count hauling the laundry up 3 flights of stairs.

How will you sweat today?

4. Express gratitude.

Gratitude fosters happiness, which is why I keep a gratitude journal. Every morning, write out at least five things you’re thankful for.

What are you grateful for today?

5. Time it right.

This was key for me- Figure out when you are the most productive and capitalize on it. I wake up buzzing and do my best work early in the day.

When do you create best?

How are you taking care of both yourself and your to-do lists? Share your self-care tips for maximizing your effectiveness in the comments!


  1. Jenelle…..so concise and full of self love…I love that. I just became aware about how we lose water while we sleep. I am aiming for water first thing in the morning, but I love to reach for my coffee. Needed your reminder.

    What I appreciate most from this post is how practical it is. We can all make time for more self care, which fuels our businesses too!

  2. Savanah says:

    I have to add a time to go to sleep on my to do list! Getting to bed early makes me so much more efficient than pushing my body to stay up and finish that one last thing. 🙂

    • Jessika says:

      @Carol Jane, I am so sad to read you feel that way! I’ve spent my life smiling at and being kind to strangers and I have only experienced kindness and smiles in return. This includes when I worked in the inner city with street people-some of the most compassionate folks I have ever known. I hope you open up your heart to the goodness in the world!

  3. Geri says:

    What a great post, Jenelle! I agree with Colleen… so practical in its beautiful wisdom. I must admit that I felt a few “doh”s while I was reading; thanks for putting it into such an easy to follow format for us non-self-aware dummies 😉

    I smile at strangers all the time; let the crazies think you’re one, too and then no one’s a crazy!

  4. Marisa says:

    I’m not so great at self-care… but I do drink water all day long. Just place a big glass right next to you & you’ll unconsciously sip it. Refill it when it’s empty. Repeat.

    Oh, and I’m a stranger smiler too. I also am extra-friendly to sales people who look like they’re having a rough day & give people my unprompted opinion in the supermarket. Maybe I’m one of the crazies! 😉

  5. Jenelle says:

    Big bear hugs to all of you!

    Savanah sleep? What’s that? Haha of course I’m kidding. I appreciate you taking time to comment & remind us to rest. My body & brain thank you too!

    Marisa I drink water through out the day as well, in my snazzy reusable cup. (A halloween themed one today) The best part is when my jeans begin to feel a little snug I blame it on all the water I’ve been drinking lately. haha It’s certainly not because of the extra cupcakes I made last week.

  6. Priscilla says:

    Good reminders! I agree with all your tips and always have a better day when I start with warm lemon honey water before my morning coffee. I don’t do this everyday like I should but when I do, it always makes for a better day.

    Also, stretching regularly throughout the day. As for being crazy ~ all the best of us are. Therefore, I love to smile! 🙂

  7. Bev says:

    Since an OMHG chat at the beginning of the year and someone recommended a drink water app, I have been so much better about drinking water! And I make sure to put exercise time into my daily schedule and work around it instead of trying to fit it in (though I’m sweating 2-3 times a week instead of every day!) Love the “Top 3” idea.

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