The 7 Questions I ask myself EVERY day

Tracy left me a comment on the 36 Edtech Tools blog post I posted this week. She asked about the seven questions I ask myself every day. So, I'll share them with you.

There are more than 7 questions below. The ones with the stars are my must-answers. If I'm too busy, then the others get deleted.

[callout]These are my questions. You need to create your questions based on your values and what you want out of life. My life is better in every way with this routine. [/callout]


journal titles

Some recent titles of journal entries. I keep several types of journals but this is my memory journal.

Each day gets a title. My journaling app, Day One, makes the titles bold.

Instead of writing “I'm stressed and exhausted” I wax a bit romantic and might write “My epic battle over exhaustion just as the day of victory approaches.” Sometimes I am silly or dumb. It doesn't matter it is my journal. My private stuff.

[callout]Hey, you be you. I fell in love with Donald Miller's book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I'll blame old Don for making me this way.

Some people see their lives as a movie. Not me, I see my life as a novel. One unique chance to pursue what God has called me to do. A story, I guess. Except you write it and you can't edit! My simple prayer:

May I not rest my head till my work is through
and memories are melded
living what I was born to do. [/callout]


*What did I do yesterday?

Part of enjoying today is making memories. Part of making memories is jotting them down.

Looking back at past memories makes me smile and enjoy the progress.

[callout]Live the time;  don't just pass the time. For if I just wait for tomorrow, I don't ever enjoy today. [/callout]

What lessons did I learn?

Wow, I hate failure! But I fail a lot. So, when I fail, I write down a learning lesson. This way I'm less likely to repeat the failure.

[callout]It works! Recently when faced with a situation, I saw in my mind the note I wrote about what I learned last time I screwed that situation up. I meant I wasn't going to write about my failure again! I had written about that lesson learned enough and I was going to learn it.

So, I chose a better solution. I didn't make the same mistake twice. (well, in this case- nine or ten times. grin) By consciously recording my lessons, I hold myself accountable and refuse to repeat those mistakes.[/callout]

*What prayers have been answered recently?

I can't hide this part of my life. All that I accomplish and do that is good in the world goes back to the fact that at 5 am each morning, I take my life to God. He does far more through my weakness than I could ever do through my strength. While lots of people hide this part of their lives, for me – it would be a lie. I speak truth even if it costs me. I'm not such a great person, I'm just guided by God.

Don't ignore your spiritual side when you ask yourself questions. Be intentional.

[callout] I do have a Christian blog for those of you interested. OK, yes, it is Cool Cat Christian. Just happened that way – ha ha. ;-) [/callout]


*What am I thankful for right now?

Those of our ancestors who could remember that the panther sat by the creek at noon would live longer than those who couldn't. So, negative thoughts are like velcro. We're wired to remember negative.

Seeing the good things takes practice.

[callout]Thankfulness breeds gratitude. Gratitude changes my attitude. [/callout]

*What am I feeling right now?

If I write something like “I'm so exhausted I can't see straight, I'll immediately realize that I need to change my plans for the day. Realizing my own feelings is helping me not wait until I hit bottom before starting to buoy myself. If I can interrupt my descent, I can stop burnout and help myself feel better. Staying in touch with how you're feeling is so important.

[callout]Just this morning, I realized that my new workout schedule is really exhausting me. I'd been meaning to order some new vitamins, so I texted my friend to get them ordered. I'll be feeling better by the end of the week because I stopped to examine how I feel today! Yeah!

This is not an invitation for every well intended but determined vitamin, smoothie selling person out there to reach out and tell me they have the answer – I'm quite content with my vitamin regimen, thank you. ;-)[/callout]


*What is one thing I’m looking forward to right now?

Anticipation is a foundation of elation!

Just this week:

  • I spent Tuesday looking forward to my 6pm run.
  • I'm excited about the delicious fruit I'm going to have at lunch.
  • We're filming for the first time today in keyboarding. Fun!

Expectation helps you savor the flavor of life.

[callout]I refuse to spend life waiting for the weekend or the summer. I'm not going to let my circumstances make me happy. I'm going to live with Great Expectations. If you don't have something to look forward to — give yourself something. [/callout]

What is one thing I'm curious about right now?

Curiosity doesn't kill the cat. A lack of curiosity kills the brain under your hat.

[callout]I constantly look for things to spark my curiosity. Sometimes these things are silly and sometimes they are quite deep. There's no pressure. My journal is just for me. I have no one to impress. [/callout]

 What prayers am I praying now?

Here's where I often pour out my soul. While most of my time praying is on my knees between me and God, I do jot down what I'm praying so I can remember later and see His work.


What have I read recently that impacted my thinking?

Reading is so much fun. Reflecting on reading helps transport ideas on a page into action on life's stage.

[callout]To stand back and realize that I've had a mind shift helps me notice my own growth. For to keep the same ideas without examining them is to choose to decay. This question is another key to having a growth mindset. I'm ready to be impacted and looking for it every time I open a book. [/callout]

This day would be incredibly successful if…

Before I asked this question, I used to just look at all I hadn't done and feel sorry for myself. I feel more successful. I feel more joy.

[callout]We always have more to-do's. Always. What we need is more tah-dah's. This question helps me find the tah-dah's! (OK so you know how a magician shows something new and says ‘tah-dah' – that is what I mean by tah-dah!”)[/callout]

*What are my plans for today?

I don't regurgitate my calendar here, I just sort of talk through with myself why I'll be doing and when in a few paragraphs. Think of this like narrating the day beforehand. And, since I'm a romantic, I'm going to add my handsome prince and some flowers along the path. Or maybe a good smelling candle or the wafting aroma of delicious food for dinner. Narrating my day before it begins lets me craft the story of my day in a way that helps me enjoy each moment.

[callout]If I narrate the day and realize there's no joy,  I'll jump down to my plans and add something. Then I'll go back and type it on the expectation list.[/callout]

*What is one thing I must accomplish today?

If I have to answer one question a day – this is it. Some people call this their “MIT” – or “most important thing.” Sometimes we die a death of a thousand papercuts because we do tiny little insignificant things that keep us from doing our most important thing.

[callout]It works! Two weeks a go, I threw my calendar and list out the door. Instead, I headed out the door to spend a day fishing with my whole family. We laughed. We rode ATV's. We ate fried chicken down by the river and drank ice cold Coca-Colas. I told my sisters that day was at least in the top 50 of my whole life.

That day I realized the power of having a most important thing. My most important thing was to enjoy the day with my family and to give myself a birthday day. Happy birthday to me. Whee! [/callout]

Pick Your Questions, Change Your Life

Ponder your life. Examine who you are. Savor the moments.

I shared these with my friend Angela Maiers when we were in Utah a few months back. Angela made her own list of essential questions.

I'm not sure it is the answers that define us, but we are certainly defined by the questions we ask ourselves every day. Please share yours in the comments!

Choose wisely.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Gary Gruber May 6, 2016 - 7:12 am

These are what I would call life’s essential questions because they are the “essence” of who you are and what you’re about. They are personal and awesomely valuable, precious, & priceless as you must be also or you wouldn’t ask such probing and penetrating questions. Congratulations and keep on keeping on this road of marvelous self-discovery, revelations and miracles both big and small.

Vicki Davis May 6, 2016 - 7:22 am

Thanks Gary.

Toni Watkins-Hayes May 10, 2016 - 6:02 pm

This is a very interesting concept to me and I’m glad you posted about it. It’s sparked an idea about how I can improve my life. Thank you!

Carrie May 25, 2016 - 2:45 pm

I think these are all excellent questions! My questions would be:
1. What are you thankful for today?
2. Who or what do you need to pray for today?
3. What do I need to accomplish today?
4. What fun things can I do to make memories with my family today?
5. Have I showed my family that I love them today?
6. What can I do better today that I have not been so great at in the past?
7. Have I taken care of my health today?

Vicki Davis May 26, 2016 - 10:34 am

Let me know how it goes Carrie as you ask yourself these questions. Love them!


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