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The Final List:

• Call Pamela!!!

A good to-do list includes connecting with at least one friend. Maintaining relationships keeps you energized; dodging them only increases your stress. Instead of setting yourself up to explain why it took you so long to call, dive right in and get caught up.

• Kickboxing at the Y at 6

Do something for yourself—especially something physical—every day. It doesn't have to be big or time-consuming to pay off in motivation or happiness.

• Help Aunt Linda assemble bookshelves

Promised favors can be a drag, but you should follow through. You'll feel better once it's done, and Aunt Linda will know she's important to you.

• Living room redo

Have Pinterest-inspired dreams of redecorating? Break a large-scale project into smaller, less intimidating tasks and put one on your list per week. Select a single, significant element that can be changed—like the sofa—that will breathe new life into the room and start there.

• Sign up for automatic bill pay

Once you register, you'll get an e-mail from your bank when your payment is sent out, so you won't have to double-check (or triple-check) ever again.

• Book flights to San Francisco

Never put off anything that could cost you money. Plus, once you have your flights booked, you start racking up the prevacation happy points that come with looking forward to a trip.

• [Insert emergency here]

Minicrises will come up (hello, leaky bathroom faucet and surprise root canal!), so leaving a time cushion to accommodate the unexpected will help keep your plan from suddenly going out the window. No snafus? More bonus time for you.

More Advice from Julie Morgenstern

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