I’ve got a few minutes. The kids are occupied with a new board game, my wife is in the bath, the dishes are in the dishwasher, and everyone is fed.

For the moment, I am caught up on all my chores and responsibilities.

This brief pocket of time is one of those rare chances to dedicate a few minutes to myself.

What I’ve learned after ten years of parenting is to snatch these moments as soon as you spot them, or they will vanish.

If I were to spend a few moments wandering the house, wondering what I could do, it’s likely I would end up stalling for long enough that the moment would pass. Someone would start crying, the doorbell could ring, or my energy could dissipate.

To guard against the waste of this treasure (for free time is the greatest treasure to a parent) I prepared a list of 5 Personal Power-Ups. This list is my treasure map back to myself; I know that if I do one of the things on this list, I will feel better, feel more like myself, and be ready to handle the stresses of parenting with dignity.

When I snatch these few minutes, I pick one activity from my list of 5 Personal Power-Ups, I do it, and ten minutes later when there is a crash in the other room, I’m ready to handle the catastrophe with balance and poise.

Power-Ups Keep You Balanced And Happy

When you find yourself tired, or cranky, or hungry, or unfulfilled, you are not going to make the best choices in the heat of the moment. You won’t Be the Better Dad. You need to take care of you, so you can take care of your kids as best you can.

I know that if you had hours every day to devote to your own self-care, you probably would. Massages, nature walks, box seats, and steak dinner all the time. But you don’t have all the time – you’re a Dad, you’re really busy, and if you are lucky enough to find a few minutes for yourself, it’s only a few – those minutes have to fit into the hectic schedule of your everyday life.

You can spend a few minutes doing something you love and feel better right away. You just have to be ready to step into doing it at a moment’s notice.

Personal Power-Ups Make You More You

Your Personal Power-Ups are the brief activities that make you feel rejuvenated or energized or relaxed in just a few minutes. By using one of these brief Power-Ups, you are replenishing the stores of energy that keep you going.

Most people in life fail not because they don’t have the ability or the intelligence or the skill, but because they don’t have the emotional gas to get up the mountain of success.

-Tony Robbins

What Are Your Personal Power-Ups?

When you need to recharge yourself, what do you do?

Get out a pen and paper – or, if you’d prefer to use a scratch pad right here on this website, write your answers here and I’ll email them to you.


My Personal Power-Ups


Here are my 5 Personal Power-Ups:

I put these 5 Power-Ups on a list by my bathroom mirror. If I ever have a moment to myself, and I’m not sure what to do next, I go read this list, pick one, and do it right away.

Most of my Power-Ups are physical, because that’s what makes me feel rejuvenated. For you, it might be more mental – you may like to journal, or play a video game, or talk with a friend, or watch Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.

Instead of just picking 5 power-ups to use, I recommend you make a list of a whole bunch of Power-Ups – and then, pick the best five.

Imagine having a pile of index cards that contain your own personal antidotes against laziness and tiredness – a pile full of activities that turn you into super-you.

What do you do when you decide to become yourself for a moment?

Step 1: Make a Power-Up Pile

Get a stack of index cards, and over the next few weeks, write down any task or action that makes you feel revitalized.

You can start right now, even if you have to pick up index cards later. Write a list of everything that puts a spring in your step. Walking the dog, calling an old friend, doing yoga, drawing in a notebook, great sex – write it all down.

Then, put each of these activities on an index card, and keep the pile in a drawer of your desk or in your kitchen.

If you want to be all techie and modern about it, keep the list on your phone or on your blog. Just make sure it is easily accessible.

When you find yourself with a moment to spare, and your want to feel better, go to your Power-Up Pile and pick something to do.

When you are beaten down by the tirades of a toddler, or the strain of getting everybody out the door (or into it), when those moments of respite finally do come, you may find yourself too exhausted to think about what could possibly make you feel better.

Don’t bother thinking. When you are in emotional recovery, reach for your Power-Up Pile, and just pick a card.

Step 2: Pick Your Five Best Power-Ups

Some of these activities will be more enjoyable for you, and some will be more effective at changing your emotional state. You may even ignore some of the cards altogether – and that’s fine. The purpose of this exercise is to find the five best Power-Ups for you.

When you have your five favorites, write them on a list. Post this list somewhere you can easily find it, even if you’re tired, hungry, disoriented, and have a screaming toddler hanging around your neck.

Step 3: Power-Up Once A Day

It can be early, or late, or whenever it works for you.

Try to spend time doing a Personal Power-Up every day, and you will be sure to do those things that make you feel more like you.

That’s what your kids need, pops – they need you 100% you.

Define the activities that make you feel that way, and do those things regularly.