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An Ideal Day

I’ve been challenged by Benjamin P. Hardy’s post to envision my ideal day — and then make that a daily reality by adjusting the 24 hours I do control to eventually achieve the 24 hours I want.

That challenge really resonates with me. Life change seems so….big…. until you break it down into its essential segments, and start making better decisions about each of those segments. A high bar, to be sure, but not an impossible one.

So here’s mine:

My Ideal Day would include…

  • 7–8 hours of good sleep — even when my night-owl tendencies are crying for “just one more hour!”
  • 1/2 hour of exercise — man, I suck so badly at this one
  • 2 hours of fellowship around meals, especially on weekends (I’m remembering my wonderful evenings in France, where dinner is a meaningful, relational event to be savored instead of plowed through.) I usually get an hour for lunch, so this seems quite do-able. And people are incredibly important to my mental and social health, so this is (to me) a key investment of time and attention, whether in my husband or my friends.
  • 1/2 hr of uninterrupted deep reading: no internet, phone in another room
  • 1 hr reading, organizing, and sharing articles, online content, blog posts, and other “connected” reading via Medium, WordPress, Clipboard, Twitter (etc) to stay informed on the world generally and in my areas of interest specifically, and to connect that content to my colleagues and networks
  • 1 hr of research reading to dive deep into my fields of study OR writing about what I’m currently reading and researching — because I’ll be more consistent if I’m writing to share what I’m reading or doing without piling on so much guilt about not keeping up with the “blogging culture”
  • 4 hours of collaboration, brainstorming, ideation, and other people/idea oriented activities; I’d like a job where I get to do this with/for others as the core part of my workday. Till then, I’ll have to utilize my usual projects at work to fill this need.
  • 1 hour of teaching, mentoring, direct instruction or other educational work
  • 1 hour of planning, developing projects, making connections with new people for future projects
  • 1 hour having fun, probably playing a video game or board game, maybe shopping or listening to music, making music with my friends, or watching Netflix
  • 1 hour learning a new skill or improving something (playing guitar, cleaning out a drawer in the kitchen, painting that scratched door jamb) or being creative for myself or others (design, creative writing, freelance jobs)

That leaves me about 3 hours each day for the stuff of life that just eats up time, like cooking and cleaning, driving around, answering email (boo!), running errands.

For my work days, I’d prefer they comprise the collaborative work (4 hrs), teaching (1 hr), planning (1 hr) and at least some of the article reading or research. Any average 8 hr day contains only (at best) 5–6 productive hours, so I’m trying to be realistic here.

The biggest changes I need to make to my life, therefore, are these:

  1. Implement an exercise program that’s integrated into daily routine and habits, even just a 45min walk each evening now that it’s warmer;
  2. Move toward a career that’s built around collaboration and ideation rather than development and execution;
  3. Set aside Facebook and similar distractions to make room for more deep reading (my attention span has been ever more fragmented);
  4. Find ways to use my evening time more productively and positively, not just collapsing on the couch to veg in front of a game or the TV.

Cool. I’m kinda excited now.