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How to Have a Bare Minimum Day

Last night, I stood up and almost lost my balance from dizziness. There was a ringing noise in my ears, like an unwanted soundtrack. It was 1 am. Fainting, unlike what the Victorian ladies make you think, is not glamorous. It is nauseating. Whether this was because I didn’t drink enough water or because I have low blood pressure is unknown (don’t let my diagnosis detract from the mystery!). Couple this with the fact that I stayed up to read a horror novel (The Select, for those who don’t want to sleep at night), and it was a recipe for disaster.

I have a name for today: a Bare Minimum Day. A Bare Minimum day is when you only accomplish the top 3 tasks on your to-do list. It is a day without frills, when your to-do list is short and to the point.

My morning started off on a promising note. First, one graduate school did a Zoom call with the other interviewees and me for 30 minutes. They wanted to prep us for Thursday. Then, I had another list of clients to schedule for Zoom sessions instead of in-person sessions. For new readers: I’m going into neuropsychology, and my mom has a psychology practice, so I work for her office. It’s one of my part-time jobs. A client got really annoyed at me. He started listing grievances against the regional center. “I don’t think that will work. And, by the way, you guys have a really long waiting list.” I get it. Clients don’t think that a diagnosis via Zoom is reliable. I agree; these sessions would not replace in-person assessments, but they would at least enable my mom to watch the child playing.

She could figure out if the child makes eye contact, does pretend play, and sustains a conversation. Along the way, I made a hilarious mistake: I recommended for one parent to have her child play on camera. She told me, deadpan, that her child was 24. I wanted to die of laughter or mortification, whichever came first.

My Top 3 tasks were:

  1. reschedule all of the clients and send Zoom links
  2. score assessments
  3. work out

I completed all of those tasks, feeling like I was on autopilot. No looking for scholarships. No editing my book, which is finished but not polished. After that, I called my grandparents and read a lot, mostly about successful people’s morning routines. Blogposts in general are fascinating. I also watched 2 episodes of You.

A Bare Minimum Day is for doing only your top 3 tasks, so you’re not overwhelmed, but you’re not unproductive, either. You heard it here first. Now all I need is a patent!


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Hi everyone! I started my doctorate in clinical psychology in fall 2020. A google search revealed that there are no current grad school blogs for psychology students. Anyway, I happen to know a girl who wants to document her journey to getting a doctorate (spoiler: it's me). Welcome. Hope you stay awhile!

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