That day, way back then
It was a weekday somewhere in 2008. I wish I could remember the exact date, but I remember the feeling vividly. It was the end of a typical day, running 3 retail businesses with 150+ employees.
As always, it had been a hectic day. I was driving home on almost empty streets. It was a little after 9pm.
Reviewing the day’s events in my mind, I realized that I wouldn’t have done anything different. It had been a balanced day. My business, my family, my health, my finances, everything seemed okay on that day. I had experienced a day of rare productivity. In a word, perfect.
It is only in the last year, that I had thought back to that day and realized I have had dozens of perfect days since then. Some stood out more clearly than others.
But, then it hit me, why only dozens, why not hundreds?
I started to think that if I deliberately worked towards a perfect day, balanced and productive, surely I can have many more. I can be more successful. I can spend better time with my kids. I can eat better, exercise better, sleep better, play better.
And, then it hit me. I’ve been working at perfecting my day for 20 years, but I had never decided what that day would look like.
I’ve made lists, written notes, read books, listened to hundreds of speakers, podcasts and ideas. And, in many cases those ideas resonated with me and I made a concerted effort to implement them in my life.
But I never planned how those ideas would impact on each other and the rest of my life, or the rest of my day.
The first step
So I started to plan the day. I reviewed as many notes, reminders, previous lists, time reports, personal journal entries and anything else I could find from the last 20 years (wow, scary how much there was). I sat down to plan the perfect day.
- How many hours should I sleep?
- What’s the best waking time?
- What should I eat?
- What can I teach my kids on the way to school?
- How do I prep in the 20 minutes before I walk into the office?
- How should I start my work day (hint: not with email)?
- How should I decide what to to first?
- When are my most productive hours?
- When am I most likely to achieve flow?
And so on. In almost every case I could recall, or had on hand, a book, article, idea that had convinced or informed me over the years which was the right choice for me.
Easy, but not easy
Surprisingly, the perfect day didn’t take me long to put together. After all, in a sense, I’ve been working on it for 20 years.
I finally had a written plan for the perfect day. I could fine tune it. If I read another amazing book, or heard another inspiring idea, I can choose how it would impact my perfect day.
I can prioritize it, I can decide it’s impact on my life, I can balance it within my perfect day.
I made one more choice. I would only ever use a single page. On the front I wrote Perfect Day: Actions. That would be my planned day. On the back I wrote Perfect Day: Principles. There I wrote the quote, book, idea, excerpt or context to help me remember some of the detail that went into formulating a specific action. I also realized, not all Actions have a corresponding Principle.
Some were so clear, they didn’t need context. I just knew.
That was my first Perfect Day.
When will it be yours?
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