The hardest part of a busy day can be figuring out what to prioritize in order to feel best both in the moment and when you're looking back on what you've accomplished. Should you always make room for exercise? Meditation? Journaling? How do you choose?
New York Times bestselling author Daniel Pink has a hack. On Twitter, he composed what he calls a "meta to-do list" that's a concise three items long.
Connect with other people face-to-face, turn off your phone and pursue meaning rather than some abstract idea of happiness, advises Pink, based on a recent article by Colby Itkowitz in the Washington Post titled, "Prioritizing these three things will improve your life — and maybe even save it."
Using science-backed conclusions from speakers at the International TED Conference, the article suggests some "simpler, almost obvious, life improvements we should all prioritize to live better lives."
Here's a breakdown of those three highly recommended improvements and why they work.
Psychologist Susan Pinker says socializing can be as or more beneficial for your well-being and longevity as exercise, Itkowitz reports: "Smoking, drinking, exercise and even heart problems are not predictors of a person's longevity — a person's close relationships and social integration were. ... Those with intimacy in their lives, those with support systems and frequent face-to-face interactions were not only physically and emotionally healthier, but they also lived longer."
That, Itkowitz writes, is why women live, on average, six years longer than men. Not because they work less stressful jobs but because they're more likely to talk to each other, and communication serves as a kind of vaccine against stress.