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How do you start and end each day?

"As we stack our days, we stack our lives."

- James McPartland


Say Yes to Saying No | Blog by James McPartland

Someone once asked me: “How do you start and end each day?”


My response: I start any given day,the night before.


The night before is when I spend time reviewing and revising the schedule that I have. I spend time setting my intention for the next day.


What do I want to accomplish?

Who do I want to be?

What are the action steps that will move the needle for me on that day?


I also ask myself, “Am I majoring in major things or am I majoring in minor things?” I go to bed with that intention and allow my subconscious to work on it.


When I get up in the morning, the first thing I usually do is spend 5 to 25 minutes on deep breathing or meditation exercises. It works best for me to be able to lock in who I am for the day and what I want to get out of it.


Only after doing these exercises do I allow myself to check my cell phone. I work really hard to keep it on airplane mode (even though I'm not flying much these days). It’s the best way to keep interruptions from creeping into my schedule.




I carry two books with me – one for reading, and one for writing. I'm a big believer in the science behind using pen and paper and how it helps integrate the lessons and learnings we seek and retain. I always keep a journal on me to capture the things that speak the most to me throughout the day.


The most critical component of this is doing something that I work very hard not to skip:

Evaluating theback end of my day. I take 15 to 30 minutes of time to look at my day by going through a mental checklist:


What did I accomplish?

Did I do what I said I was going to do?

What got in the way?

How did I allow myself to get distracted?


And then finally, I score myself. Not to make myself feel bad, but to have a way of measuring my performance. It’s how I evaluate and modify my actions for the next day


And then the cycle repeats.


And I’ll close with this: Anytime I try to skip this process or start believing that I’ve got things figured out, the wheels fall off! I believe that a day is our life in miniature. And as we stack our days, we stack our lives.


And that’s it. That’s how I start and end each day. It’s a routine I’ve developed into a habit and have been doing for a long time. I need it as much as anybody.


So how do you start and end each day, friend?

James McPartland | Keynote Speaker, Author, Executive Coach