1. Respond to the damn email.
2. Call your mom. Chat for five minutes, pretend that public transportation is coming/you’re walking in to work/the battery is low, then get off the phone. All she wants is to know you’re not dead — and to know that your relationship, no matter how shaky it may be, is still intact.
3. Make your bed — it makes the entire room look cleaner.
4. Write out a list by hand. Google may have invented every list-making tool on the planet, but writing it down commits it to memory — and, contrary to popular belief, not every place has internet.
5. When you get a free minute, clean out the thing nearest you, whether it’s a drawer, your gym bag, or your fridge. Just open the door, look at what is moldy, and throw it out.
6. When you get a free moment, do something creative, even if it’s watching ‘Dirty Dancing’ for the twentieth time. Make it a game and study how many times Patrick Swayze’s character smolders for the camera.
7. Apply for the damn job. There’s no sense in complaining about your present situation if you are not making strides to change it. Send out the resume, make the necessary contacts in the field you want to pursue, and go from there. It may not yield results as fast as you think, but the fact that you know you are doing something makes all the difference in the world.
8. Don’t feel the need to fill gaps of silence with blathering comments. That makes you sound like an idiot.
9. Visit one random blog (or five) a day that makes you happy and gives you the motivation to get through the day. If you like food, go check out photos on Tastespotting. If you like to transport yourself into other people’s heads, visit Pinterest. If you like doing fun activities, visit Soul Pancake. There’s something for everyone.
10. Realize when it’s not working out and move on — apply that to whatever situation you wish.
11. If you feel it, do it. The only thing you will lose is the what-if’s because you didn’t try.
12. Sometimes you need to cry. While crying alone is fine, the best cries seem to come when someone else coaxes them out of you by telling you the truth about a circumstance in your life. The tears come, the weight lifts, and then you can fix it.
13. If you can’t make it to something, be honest and say why. I’d rather hear someone be honest and say “I hate that place,” or “I have no money,” than “Can’t — sorry!”
14. Get to know your parents better. You’re an adult now, and you can bond with them on a different level than you could when you were 15. For instance, I asked my mom what songs she could listen to on repeat, and she totally blew my mind when she said the entire “Diamonds and Rust” album from Joan Baez. I listened to it immediately and realized that no only did my mom have an even more feminine side that I thought — I realized that FYI, she cries too. (Although I’ve never seen her do it — true story.)
15. Get your stuff together the night before. Make sure your clothes are clean, your keys are in your bag, and you have your lunch. More mistakes can be made and items forgotten (and repercussions felt) in the 15-minute rush it takes to get out of the door than in an entire day.
16. One day a week, walk to your destination instead of ride. Guess who just got their exercise in?
17. Curb impulse buying and go grocery shopping once a week. Knowing you have at least a loaf of bread, a box of cereal, a frozen dinner, a dozen eggs, pasta, and a can of soup in your fridge can save you from thinking “What’s for dinner?” and ordering $25 takeout.
18. Sign up for direct deposit and automatic bill pay on every service you can – and find out how to access your checking account online. That way there’s no “I forgot to pay that bill!” Because trust me, that happens sometimes.
19. Once you do agree to something, put it in a calendar so you don’t forget.
20. Say it with me: Go. To. Sleep. You are of no use to anyone (or yourself) if you are in a bleary-eyed flood and only making halfway decisions.
21. Save it and make a copy.
22. Shut up, say “You’re right,” and move on.
23. Slow down. The minute you realize — as clichéd as it is — that life really is a journey and not a marathon, the better off you’ll be.
24. Do a five minute scan over any and everything that you are about to email From the smallest email to the biggest story, read it aloud, read it to yourself, scan it for typos, send it to someone else if you have to — but checking for mistakes now can eliminate corrections and embarrassment later.
25. Have an extra set of batteries. Only so many devices can be charged via USB.
26. Ask for help. Knowing that someone you trust has your back and is looking out for your best interest creates calm for your brain.
27. Whatever it is, just do it.