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When you’re taking stock of what you’ve accomplished, it’s easy—and understandable—to get wrapped up in what you haven’t done or want to do better. You have to remember to recognize wins big and small, though, to keep yourself motivated. The balance between positive and negative as it relates to productivity is delicate, but you do always need to take breaks, do things you enjoy, and remember that you’re getting things done, even during stressful times. That’s why you should try creating a “jar of awesome.” 

What is a “jar of awesome?” 

The “jar of awesome” idea comes from Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers and it’s been popular for some time. Essentially, Ferriss recommends writing your wins down as they occur and putting the slips of paper into a jar. When you need a motivational boost, you can read through them. Visually, the jar even shows you just how much you have accomplished lately. 

The idea is to help you focus not just on everything that needs to get done, but on what you’ve already done. It’s similar to keeping an accomplishment journal or updating your resume annually, even when you’re not job-hunting, in that it both motivates you and creates a record of your work. If you’re ever called into a surprise meeting about your work or have a review looming, you already have a list of your accomplishments ready to go. 

Ways to create your own “jar of awesome” 

Actually filling a jar with little scraps of paper is a touch twee and may not be that easy to keep up with when our lifestyles are so increasingly digital. There are plenty of ways to create a “jar” of awesome that don’t involve making your desk look like a Pinterest-inspired 2013 wedding. Try leaving a page or two dedicated to tracking wins in the back of your planner or creating a designated note on your phone. Create a single source of truth (SSOT) or a file on your computer or drive, dedicated to compiling your list of wins and supporting documentation. 

However you decide to do it, make sure all of the successes are listed somewhere together so the list grows visually. Just glancing at it can be a motivational push, to say nothing of reading through it all. Finally, don’t second-guess yourself when you want to add something. If you picked up the dry cleaning on a stressful day, got all the kids out of the house on time in the morning, or responded to all your emails by the end of the day and it felt good, throw it in. Just because it might seem small in comparison to a big looming project deadline doesn’t mean it wasn’t a win to get it done, so into the jar it goes. The goal is to keep track of just how much you really do accomplish, so don’t leave anything out.

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