Your Grade at the End of the Day

We’ve all had those days when no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get anything done. If you had to grade your success that day, what would you think? What would be your grade at the end of the day?

Cartoon of a man showing thumbs down--one way you might grade yourself at the end of the day

Never Enough

 Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

-Henry Ford

Some days, particularly during the pandemic, you simply don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. You’re exhausted and frustrated and defeated. It’s too much. If you had to grade your performance, your grade at the end of the day would be a failing one.

Sound familiar? Step back a moment. Let’s rethink that.

Perfect or Victim

Perhaps you’ve fallen victim to the perfect trap. Having high standards, lofty goals, and always wanting to do your best are splendid things. They can help you become and do the best you can. But perfectionism is a two-edge sword: a desire to do well and fear of the consequences of not doing well.

According to Psychology Today, critical perfectionism manifests itself as inwardly focused perfectionists and outwardly focused perfectionists. Inwardly focused perfectionist beat themselves up for every mistake or failure. Outwardly focused perfectionists bully or berate those around them for their mistakes or failures. The emotional fallout of both creates anger, depression, and victimizing.

Improve Your Grade

Despite what appears to be perfect lives on the screen, perfect is unattainable. So quit setting yourself (and others) up for failure.

Stop comparing yourself. Remember, you don’t see what goes on behind the photo on the screen. Although there are things you may have in common, no one else has your life. Not even your spouse or children.

Stop Bullying

The negative self-critical form of perfectionism hurts you. It allows you to self-bully. to beat up yourself for what you didn’t do. The negative outward perfectionism hurts you and others. You beat up on everyone because they can’t measure up. You live in disappointment and anger. Stop the bullying, self or others.

At the end of the day, list what you did. All the things you did. Compliment yourself on the things you accomplished—no matter how small.

Stop Self-sabotage 

Stop being unrealistic on what you can achieve. Give yourself permission to be realistic. 

Make a list of all the things that need you want to accomplish. But don’t try to get all of them done in one day. Decide which ones you will realistically have time to do.

Identify Success

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

Change your focus. What is really important to you? Is it money? Your to-do lists? Or your relationship? Grade yourself on those things.

What two or three things accomplishedwould be success at the end of your day? Celebrate those successes! Yes, even celebrate that you got up and got through the day.

Embrace Failure

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

-Michael Jordan

Sometimes you’ll fail. It might be out of your control: you’re not feeling well, your child/spouse/parent is ill, or a pandemic comes along and changes your life. Be patient with yourself and others. Some skills, some tasks take time. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes. You’ll fail. And like Michael Jordan, that’s why you’ll succeed. 

Be Kind to Yourself

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

-Alice Walker

Most especially, be kind to yourself and those around you. You have the power to see yourself as successful, no matter how many failures or mistakes you make.

drawing of a paper and pen, paper has an A+ grade

So make your grade at the end of the day the one you deserve. Give yourself an A for all you do.


  1. I can so relate to this post. I always try to make a realistic to-do list, yet I seldom accomplish everything on it, and it’s so frustrating. I need to remember to focus on what I *did* get done, rather than on what I didn’t.

    1. I’m right there with you, Jennette. My to-do list is always much larger than what I can actually accomplish. I don’t always remember to focus on what I did get done but when I do, it really helps. Be kind to yourself!

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