Maybe you’re like me.

  • Maybe you like to enjoy some leisure time or hobbies.
  • Maybe you like getting together with family and/or friends.
  • Maybe you like to improve yourself by learning new skills or mastering your existing abilities.

Maybe you’re like me…in fact, in this case, I bet you are.

The Exercise

person writing bucket list on book

Tell me, reader…what does the perfect day look like to you?

Get out a piece of paper and write down everything you’d like to do in this perfect day.

Make a list and next to each item, write an estimated amount of time you’d spend on each activity.

For example…

  • Sleep: 8 hours
  • Morning routine (coffee, shower, walking the dog): 1 hour
  • Read: 30 minutes
  • and so on…

Make sure to focus on your perfect day, NOT the perfect 24 hours.

For this exercise, imagine doing everything you’d want to do for as much time as you’d want to do it, even if that means 11 hours of Netflix.

So, what does your perfect day look like?

Was there enough time in a 24 hour period for your perfect day? When I do this exercise, I often come up with an answer between 26-32 hours. Maybe you’re like me, with more to do than you have time for. Maybe 24 hours is just right. Or maybe 24 hours is more than enough for you.

For those of you who have more to do in a perfect day than you have time, what gets cut first?

Would you trim the time equitably across everything? Would you cut individual activities? Do you prioritize work, rest, relationships, or something else?

Now riddle me this: how close it that to what your day currently looks like?

To Work or Not to Work?

I like to do this perfect day exercise periodically because it is an illuminating look at my current priorities. The act of listing out everything I’d do on a perfect day and then trying to make that day happen within 24 hours forces me to confront my priorities and my limitations. It also forces me to confront my current schedule and behaviors.

My friend David posted this tweet on Friday. It resonated with me.

I love video games. I find them calming, but I often feel guilty indulging in them, as if Thursday evening at 8:30pm is somehow supposed to be reserved for catching up on work rather than something relaxing.

There’s an often cited tweet by Randi Zuckerberg, sister of robot-demon pretending to be human: Mark Zuckerberg:

While I don’t entire agree with this tweet, there is an important idea in there. Life is about choices, and what this tweet implies is this idea we’ve collective internalized, that we simply cannot fit it all in. Part of the reason we think this is because of the oversized importance that work takes in our lives. In light of all of our responsibilities at work, there’s no possible way we could fit it all in.

But is this actually true?

Could it really happen?

Realistically, what you want as a standard perfect day, is probably not THAT far off from what you could be doing now. Sure, there’s probably a bit less time working, and a bit more time engaging in leisure or catching up with friends but…is that a bad thing? What would it take for you to tip-toe closer to the perfect day? Really? What would it take, and what are your next steps? Where can you make adjustments?

You may realize that there are a multitude of different types of perfect days. Maybe one is a perfect day of leisure while one is a perfect day of work. This gives you the opportunity to engineer different perfect days across your week.

I do this exercise regularly, and recently, one of the things I realized is that I want to spend more time with my daughter, my wife, and my dog (in no particular order). So, when I saw that while doing this exercise, I made the decision to take Fridays off to be with my daughter.

  • Yes, I realize not everyone can do this.
  • Yes, I am lucky and privileged to have the opportunity to do this.
  • I do not take this for granted.

I bring up this example because when I looked at what I was doing and what I wanted to do, I saw an opportunity that I could capitalize on to move one step closer to my perfect day, at least one day per week.

I also wanted to learn Mandarin, and read 30 minutes per day. So, I study Mandarin with my morning coffee and listen to audible when walking my dog in the morning and evening, as well as after dropping off my wife at work and on my way to pick her up after work. I found spaces in my day to start living a life that more closely resembles my perfect day.

I bring all of these examples up because I hope to inspire you to challenge yourself to take one step closer to your perfect day. Ideally, we’d all be living our perfect days, but I can assure you, it won’t happen by accident.

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