How to Have a Perfect GYST Day
Updated: Jul 22, 2019
I like to think of my life as a Tetris screen.
Everything is arranged in little blocks of different activities: Getting together with friends, working on a school project, dealing with (the horror of) Los Angeles traffic, etc. Usually the tetris blocks fall slowly enough for me to see what I have coming up for the week and to plan accordingly.
But what happens when the tetris blocks start falling too fast?
As someone with anxiety, when things start to pile up in one area of my life, everything else can feel out of control as well. It becomes a cycle. I know I have a massive amount of things I need to accomplish, but the idea of taking action wears me out so much that I just want to crawl into bed and take a nap.
Unfortunately, my strategy of trying to nap away my work has been proving ineffective. Therefore, I set out on a quest. How to have the perfect GYST Day.
What is a GYST day, you ask (And if you didn’t ask, what the heck)?
We all need GYST Days. A day where you can seemingly accomplish all things. Where your long to do list magically becomes a thing of the past. While I would love to simply obliviate my need to do tasks and accio everything for my errands, unfortunately I am still waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter (You didn’t think you would make it through a whole blog post without a Harry Potter reference, did you?).
Until then, here is my foolproof plan of how to have a perfect Get Your Sh*t Together Day.
1. Set Aside the Time
While this may seem like a simple idea, when things get hectic, this can be the most difficult step. In order to have a Get Your Sh*t Together Day, you need to set aside your most precious resource: Time. For me, Sundays are the perfect GYST Day because it allows me to start my week off fresh. Therefore I can go into Monday feeling energized and accomplished and without the burdens of last week hanging over my head.
2. Have a Plan of Attack
In order to have the perfect GYST Day, you need to have a plan. I will admit it. I am a planner. I love having a to do list because it makes me feel accomplished to cross things off a list. Heck, I write “Make To Do List” on my list so I can start off with a win.
So what does having a plan mean when it comes to a GYST Day?
A GYST Day is different for everyone. I have been planning a roadtrip lately, and things were piling up. However, if I could approach everything in life with the same amount of energy I have the day before I leave on vacation, I am pretty sure I could conquer the world. My pre-vacation GYST Day included the following: Getting a car wash, packing, going to therapy, going to CVS to pick up last minute supplies, going to CVS because I forgot to pick up medication, going back to CVS to pick up stamps (this is why planning is important), and submitting 2 homework assignments all before 1 PM. At the end of the day, I was exhausted, but I accomplished everything on my massive list because I set aside one day to get it all done.
My number one tip for having a plan of attack is to keep a notebook by your couch and write down things that need to be done as you remember them throughout the week. Don’t be stuck in the grocery store wondering, “Wait, what did I need to buy?” Aka don’t be like me and have to go to CVS 3 separate times in 2 hours because you forgot a different thing each time. This also allows you to effectively plan your route. After all, who wants to spend the day criss-crossing the city when it could have been avoided by planning a route that makes sense for you. Also, get up early. Don’t be caught in the grocery store at peak times (the Trader Joe’s parking lot is like the 7th circle of Hell during rush hour). By getting up early, you can accomplish all your goals before the masses arrive.
Coley Lane wrote a great piece on planning GYST Days which included categorizing your day into 3 categories: Maintain, Prep, and Care. All of these concepts are important to plan for your GYST Day. You likely will need to do some maintenance, such as laundry and dishes since (at least for me) those are the things that start falling through the cracks when you get busy. Prep is equally important for setting yourself up for the next week, such as doing meal prep, scheduling out your time for the week, and planning your outfits. Finally, make sure to add care. While I will touch on this a bit more later, taking time to care for yourself should be the final step of any GYST Day.
I love Abby’s post on How To Get More Done in a Day because it takes the ideas of GYST and applies it to every day. If you want to take your GYST Day to the next level, read her post in combination with this one!
3. Come Into Your GYST Day Rested
I am going to let you in on a secret. Getting a good night's sleep matters. Radical idea right? It shouldn’t be, but 33% of us aren’t getting enough sleep to function at our best. According to the National Sleep Foundation, driving after being awake for 24 hours makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .10 (above the legal limit). In fact, a study from AAA states, “Missing one to two hours of sleep doubles a driver’s crash risk, while foregoing two or three hours increases the risk of a crash by 400 percent, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study. Those who sleep for less than four hours in a 24-hour period are 11.5 times likelier to crash.”
So what does that have to do with your GYST Day? Get. Enough. Sleep. You are not going to be at your best productive self unless you actually take the time to get a good night's sleep the night before.
Getting enough sleep should also be combined with having a good breakfast (no hangry purchases for you).
4. End With Self Care
Self Care is important.
One of my favorite quotes is “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” Similar to putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help someone else, so it is with self care.
Now Self Care can mean different things to different people. For some people, it is pampering themselves with a face mask and painting their nails, for others it means sitting down and writing in a journal to clear their mind of everything before jumping into a new day. For me, I have started sitting down and doing hand lettering after a discussion with my Therapist about engaging in some activities which are merely pleasurable, not goal oriented.
Whatever your form of self care is, end your GYST Day with that. Not only do you deserve to treat yourself after some kick-butt productivity, but it is also an important reminder that taking care of yourself is just as important of a task as running errands or doing the laundry. It allows you to be a better version of yourself and put yourself in a good mental space going forward in the week.
What are your tips for a GYST Day? Let me know in the comments!
Recommended Reading: How to Get More Done in a Day