After the tranquility of autumn walks, kicking leaves in the warm October sunshine, things have taken a turn. The weather is cooling down, the rain has come, and the leaves are turning to mush. Winter is almost upon us and the festive season is approaching. I’m looking forward to wrapping up warm and going to Christmas markets, enjoying seeing my daughter in her first nativity play, and sipping mulled wine. That’s just me sipping the wine, not her. 

Christmas can be one long rollercoaster and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So recently I’ve been trying to perfect the art of making a to do list. 

Quite simply, a to do list is a place to offload all the tasks and thoughts that come into your head, so you don’t forget them. As soon as you remember you need to book an appointment or buy something, you should write it down. Be fanatical about it if you can. Because once it’s on the list it no longer has to be carried around in your memory. 

I always used to be reasonably organised, but I’ve discovered a key tool of the Millennial Dad is to make lists. 

I’ve used various methods to capture my to do items from a pen and paper, to more recently the notes app on my phone. A while back I discovered, and have just rediscovered, the Things app for iPhone and iPad. It syncs with your phone’s reminders and Siri, which means you can just press the Home button and tell Siri what you want to remember and it will record it for you on the app. As a dad I find the voice functionality of Siri really useful as it avoids me spending ages typing on my phone and setting a bad example to my daughter. 

Do you make lists? How do you capture your thoughts? Even if you have a great memory I’d say it’s good to get things down on phone or paper to free your mind for even more important tasks. And then you can really start to enjoy the moment. 

There are always things to do and more items to add to a list. 

Once we start making a list we’ll never get rid of everything from it. A list is for life not just for Christmas. I’ve deliberately not written about what to do with your list, but it starts with prioritising everything. Luckily the Things app that I use and many other apps can do that, too. But that’s for another post. For now, try capturing all your to do items as you think about them and see how good it feels. 


The US Presidential Election was one of a kind. I’ve seen plenty of interesting blog posts about what this means for families and particularly how to explain the new President to children. I’ve written about this in another post and won’t go over old ground. What I want to talk about is a silly goal I set for myself 8 years ago, why I’ve failed at it, and what I would do differently in future. 

In 2008 I set a goal to perform in front of President Obama by the end of his Presidency. 

The plan was simple. I was living in London and fancied myself as a bit of a singer-songwriter. I was starting to do gigs, and I thought it might be possible to get to perform in front of the President in less than 100 gigs. 

This was a silly goal and by 2016 I am no closer to it than I was in 2008. 

Why did I fail and what would I do differently?

1. First of all, I didn’t set a ROADMAP to achieving that goal. We hear all the time about the importance of setting goals but unless we have a plan to achieve them we’ve no hope of even remotely getting near it. How many times have we committed to join the gym at the start of the year but then our enthusiasm fizzles out by the time we’re on month two. 

2. I didn’t set WAYPOINTS along the way. I should have set mini-goals that were incrementally achievable towards the overall goal. 

3. I didn’t have COMMITMENT. As much as I liked the idea of doing music, I was probably more of a songwriter than performer. I didn’t really enjoy promoting myself or singing as much as I should have done. Ed Sheeran went to London and played hundreds of gigs until he became successful. I didn’t have that same hunger. So perhaps it wasn’t right for me. 

How does all this relate to the Millennial Dad? 

As a parent with a million different priorities we have to set goals we want to achieve for ourselves. It may be to be mortgage free by a certain date, to go on a once-in-a-lifetime family holiday, or switch professions. All of these things are infinitely harder to do with children, because we have little people who depend on us. So in order to be realistic and achieve our goals as parents we need to take them seriously, create a path to success, and be accountable to one another for getting there. 

So I failed at getting to meet President Obama and the jury’s still out on whether I want to meet President Trump. But I learned a lot about how to achieve the more important things required in being a dad. 

You hear a few tracks of my music here.