Give yourself a gold star

Are you having a string of bad days to start the new year? Did you forget to buy an important item on your shopping list? Did a big bad wolf just blow your house down? Is the farmer trying to kill you?

If you don’t feel prepared for the challenges that today presents, don’t wallow in the mud. Take a step back and give yourself the chance to get organized, get back on track, and earn yourself a gold star. Here’s how.


Write down* on a slip of paper three things you are absolutely committed to getting accomplished today.

Not two. Not four. Three is key to balancing accomplishments and maintaining flexibility.

If you can do one or more of these things before anything else — especially before checking email — do so.

* Seriously, write them down; keeping them in your head doesn’t count.


When you finish each one give yourself a star.

When you’re all done, crumple up and throw the paper away.

If you don’t get all three things done by the end of the day, throw the paper away anyway. Tomorrow is another day.

Choose three things.

A little organization and planning go a long way.

At Macktez we rely on the Daily Review — an individual appraisal of calendars and inboxes to make sure we have given ourselves the right amount of time to get through all our expected tasks.

But that daily habit can feel overwhelming for people just starting on the path to organizational happiness, so if you’re having a tough time we recommend a set of training wheels: Choose three things. (Just three — no more, no less.) Write them down. Keep the list in front of you and cross them out as you complete each one.

When you’re all done, enjoy the satisfaction of crumpling up the list and tossing it in the garbage. And this is important: Even if you don’t finish all three, throw the list out anyway, because tomorrow you have a chance to set your priorities all over again.

The clarity of having three specific things to do, and getting them done as early in the day as possible before some email or message can derail you, is a simple way to give your day — and your year — direction and a sense of accomplishment.

Congratulations to Colin McMullan, our 2018 Summer Stipend recipient

This year’s recipient for our $1000 Summer Stipend was a community-based project tackling multiple contemporary issues in a unique installation: “Tree Spa for Urban Forest Healing.” Starting with a mobile sugar shack for tapping maple trees, Colin McMullin and his collaborators have built a vegetable steamer and spa that take advantage of the steam generated by refining maple syrup. Steamroom, evaporation room, and ventilation are all built on trailers to maximize portability and surprise. “Who knows where the TREE SPA will turn up next?”

For more information about Tree Spa, visit

— The Team at Macktez.

Macktez was founded in a loft in New York’s Chinatown and still occupies an office in the same neighborhood. So our holiday cards hit the mail a little later than most, since we wait until the red banners start popping up all around us to celebrate the New Year.

Happy New Year Archive