And why you should care about it enough to start using it today
If you are like me, you are constantly exploring, constantly reading about new ideas, new concepts, new philosophies. You consume blogs, newsletters, long-form articles, e-books, hard cover books, audible books, podcasts and more.
Are you a slave to the news feed, like I was? No more.
Do you suffer from FOMO like I did? Now I have an antidote.
Do you have TO DO lists? I had dozens.
You know the feeling. Every idea you encounter has value. Everything sounds right. The ideas are often so profound that you’re convinced it’s the one way you are finally going to find balance, productivity and success in your life.
But in the back of your mind you know. There isn’t one solution. It’s a combination of many things. That’s why we keep searching.
So now what?
A few years ago, I had that same profound insight, there isn’t ONE answer, ONE approach, ONE solution. It is a combination of small steps, tiny improvements, little failures, minuscule disappointments that all add up to where you are today. And the way to turn that around is to dial down the noise, focus on the long game and play every day.
That means, shutting down the news feed and kicking FOMO in the balls.
That’s where the Perfect Day comes in. It’s not flashy. It’s not a 300 page book you have to work through. It’s a simple idea, with a simple purpose and a simple result – to help you structure the Perfect Day. The best combination of small steps to take each day.
How does it work?
You take a single page.
On the one side write (or type) “Perfect Day: Actions”.
On the other – “Perfect Day: Principles”.
On the side marked Principles, write down the ideas, concepts and principles that resonate with you. The things you list here may be due to a life-changing book you’ve read or a speaker you listened to. It may be lessons you learnt from your parents. Or wisdom you picked up from failing at something.
These are the principles you follow. The beliefs you have. The concepts you apply at work, at home, everywhere.
Here are 2 Principles I’ve used in my own Perfect Day:
- Asking yourself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something” – Steve Jobs
- Productivity and creativity: I must not add working hours to my day, I must add sleep. If I get a good night’s rest, I am notably more creative and productive the next day.
Ok, got it? That’s the one side of the page marked Perfect Day: Principles.
On the other side of the page you plan how the typical, average, perfect day would play out. These are the Actions you would take. The things you would do.
This is NOT a to-do list.
Your Perfect Day: Actions are the things you would do, every day, over the next 5-10 years.
They are not generic, broad steps such as “eating better” or “getting more exercise”.
They are carefully worded, practical rituals. Here are some of mine:
- 07:17 In car – praise my kids for effort, not innate ability (what have you done recently that was hard to do?)
- 08:05 Deliberately don’t start with email
- Day: If it will take less than 2mins, do it now. If not, add it to to-do list on OneNote
- Day: Flow follows focus – cluster tasks together (then listen to songs on repeat to create a mindset for flow)
Keep it simple. No long paragraphs.
This can include actions for work, family, finance, play, health or whatever is important to you. The main goal is to structure a balanced, productive, perfect day.
Note: Adding a time of day (approximate) helps you in developing a sequence. This is vital as doing things in a specific order could have even more value. E.g. I do creative work in the mornings and leave email for late afternoons.
That’s it. That is your Perfect Day. Print it out, add it on your phone, or make it your background on your tablet. Whatever works. Keep it with you.
Now, as you start using it as a reference point, you will begin to fine-tune it. You’ll discover the incredible impact that simple daily actions have on your life, your body and your mind.
You will start to re-evaluate what you do every day. You’ll make changes to your Perfect Day Actions and Principles. They will evolve as you do.
I guarantee you, you will realize that you have more control over your life than you ever thought possible.
The Perfect Day is my antidote to FOMO
Fear of missing out (FOMO). As we connect more to messages telling us about everything we’re missing, we are more scared than ever we’ll miss the most important things. Seth Godin explains it so perfectly.
My Perfect Day, helps me constantly to stay on the long-term path I’ve chosen.
If I get excited about a new idea (and that happens a lot) I can’t bring it into my life without considering how it impacts my Perfect Day.
When I’ve read an amazing book (that also happens a lot) I can’t change my routines or habits in a specific area e.g. my relationships, without realizing how it would take away from another area.
But, it allows me to take those new ideas, amazing books and inspiring podcasts and build the practical, daily, mindful changes into my Perfect Day.
The Perfect Day can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. It can, and should, change over time. It should provide you with daily actions that tie in to your long-term dreams.
Absolutely there will be days when you do none of the actions. There will be days where you get into flow and spend all your time on one action. And then there will be days that are perfect, balanced and productive.
Just think about it, if you could have just 1 such a day every week, wouldn’t it be worth it.
For me, it’s not about celebrating only the Perfect Day. That’s hard. It takes effort. It takes concentration. And if you’re struggling with it, you can easily get demotivated.
No, it’s about celebrating the small successes. The consistent work towards each small Action in the Perfect Day. The brief moments of balance and the short periods of productivity.
It’s about the journey and making sure that each day counts.
I know that it will do the same for you.
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