The "do-before" list - how to get and stay productive before Facebook swallows you whole

“An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…”

This is Newton’s first law of motion—often called the law of inertia.

I started a "do-before" list for my kids as a way to get them to get chores done (so I don't have to do it), and to do things that are better for them than staring at a box with lights and colors--the television. They need to do things like read, color, play, feed the animals, and tidy their rooms before they even dream of going near a screen. 

These tricks are not just for kids

This trick is solid gold for me too.

I suggest you create your own do-before list for yourself.

How many times over the course of the day do you find yourself scrolling Facebook, checking Twitter, checking Instagram, then re-checking Facebook because it's been five minutes?

How many times have you looked at your email?

Before you've even gone to the bathroom? 

Maybe you’ll want to cross one major item off your to-do list before you even open your internet browser. Maybe you’re not allowed to pour yourself a glass of wine until you’ve cleaned up dinner and packed lunches for tomorrow.

Regardless of what’s on your do-before list or your kids’ list, the goal is the same—get the important shit done first. 

How do you know what's most important?

The stuff you're going to regret NOT doing at the end of the day, the end of the year, or the end of your life. 

So why should you give a shit? 

Once you're scrolling Facebook, how easy is it to stop?

When you’re plugging away on a project at work have you ever noticed you fall into the "zone"? 

The law of inertia, applied with useless time fillers, can help get off you ass, out of boredom, and getting the important stuff done.

Sure, I’m all for having lazy days, binge-watching Netflix documentaries, and am a big believer that you don’t need to be doing something to be considered worthy as a person. Unstructured time and play are a priority and always will be.

Introducing the grown-up do-before list.

What is a grown-up do-before list? It’s a list of things—not necessarily chores, that you need to complete before even fathoming playing candy crush, checking Facebook, or watching funny penguin videos. 

Here are some ideas to create your own:

Before I start goofing off online, I will:

  1. Make my bed (did you know it sets the tone for your whole day?)
  2. Stretch
  3. Meditate for 5 minutes
  4. Read one page of a book
  5. Write 1,000 words
  6. Finish one hard task

See, chances are, you’ll do each of these activities and feel so productive you'll want to keep going.

You can make this a simple checklist on your calendar, whiteboard, or on a sticky note. 


Benefits of getting epic shit done first

  • Feeling good about yourself
  • Being productive is good for your brain
  • You're constantly growing your body of work
  • Increases the time spent in front of real human beings
  • Reduce the chances of becoming a smartphone-loving and instant gratification-craving adults that many of us are (ahem)
  • Never wondering, "where'd the day/week/year/my life go?


I dare you to try a do-before list for yourself. 

If you liked this, you'll probably love these even more: 



An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…
Jacqueline Fisch