What should we do with all of this time to reflect?
There’s a lot of writing out there about the best start to your day, your first step towards productivity etc. It’s helpful advice. I agree, your opening hours should be a little taste of the glory to come, but what about the rest of the day? I want more than the morning; I want a template for a perfect day, every day. Do I expect to achieve a perfect day every day? Nope, but I want to be in with a chance.
What does a perfect day even look like?
The lockdown has enforced a set of conditions that may alter what your perfect day looks like and while it’s fine to fantasise about a trip to the pub or dinner party, longing too much for what you can’t have is not going to lead you to optimal conditions.
So today, when searching for your perfect day it needs to be in the context of what you can have, but that’s okay, I feel like there are a set of human conditions that are independent of material wants and desires. The perfect day may at first glance be full of food from a Marks, and Spencer Christmas add, it might be a celebration bbq or a night out at a club, looking glam.
However, material memories are fleeting and blend into each other because they don’t instigate a change or unit of momentum. A perfect day is fluid, not static, and even if you’ve fallen a few steps behind, you’ve some action towards creating the life you want.
I know it sounds a bit fluffy but isn’t the most potent day the one that you construct yourself and that no skinny boss can take away from you. External factors can and will bring you down, but if you know your template, you’ll be able to fortify yourself against them.
I was a wayward teenager and probably an unruly young adult. An old friend once furnished me with the best compliment I ever, he said “I’ve always wondered how the most f***ed up person I knew turned into the most sorted” We were drunk, of course, but I’ll still take that.
The answer was a purpose, and it came through creativity; through writing following a significant change of scenery and not until I was in my thirties. I’m far from perfect now and still drink too much now and again, but I haven’t had the appetite for destruction that comes from having no purpose since I started writing.
What’s your favourite creative activity? What’s the best use of your imagination? What’s the thing that keeps you out of trouble?
When you have the answer to this, how much time can you dedicate to it each day? Can you break it down into daily and weekly objectives?
I love the morning; until 11 am to write stories. I try and keep editing for the end of the session, so I don’t get too distracted by reality.
In a previous career, I used late nights and lunch breaks to work on my stories. Wherever you can schedule it, I’m positive that creativity is on everyone’s template for their perfect day.
“The creative adult is the child who survived.” — Ursula LeGuin
Being loved and loving back are essential human needs and form part of the perfect day. Whether it’s romantic, or it’s platonic or maternal or directed towards your pet.
It could a grand act of love; forgiveness, acceptance, sacrifice or it could be small meaningful gesture such as a message, a letter or a conversation when you’d rather be doing something else. It could be a text, a letter, a hug (within your household at the moment), it could be a conversation with someone when you’d rather be doing something else
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear. “— Martin Luther King
As much as I love Netflix, it never pushes me further towards something. The perfect day will see you progressing a goal of yours; finishing a puzzle, using up the old food in your cupboard, starting a story etc.
With the right schedule, this is a simple box to tick every day — an easy win.
It can be thought-progress, we’ve all got a lot of time on our hands at the moment. Just sitting down and writing ideas is progress. It could be measurable progress, how many words have you written today, or tangible progress.
The verb that lies behind progress is action or change, and by incorporating this into your life every day, you’re taking a little piece of control which adds to a perfect day.
“The wise are like a river; they go forward and upward, never backward or downward.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo
I wasn’t into education as a kid; just getting in trouble, which eventually gave its own lessons but not quickly and there aren’t many I want to write about.
I’m not talking about reading a book or signing up for a course but the act of applying the knowledge you have found to a problem of your own.
My favourite lessons are cross-contaminations; things I can apply to my work that make sense in science or marketing. I recently read a book on storytelling in non-fiction (Story Craft by Jack Hart) and oh my god it has filled me with practical knowledge that I can apply to my own fiction stories, as well as giving me a tool kit to expand my non-fiction writing. I didn’t just read the book; I devoured it.
The process of understanding by application is something that can be fed into your day smoothly. If you have an internet connection, nothing can stop you dipping into any subject you are interested in learning.
“The doer alone learneth.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
It’s been a tumultuous time over the last few years in the UK. The virus may now give us room to connect again and experience being part of something greater than ourselves and higher than the sum of our combined parts. It could be time to start thinking as part of humanity; maybe again, or perhaps for the first time.
What’s been incredible in this virus is the speed with which people have switched from real to virtual meetups. I’ve had a longer chat today with my client than I have had in the last 12 months.
Making a connection, just one at a time will help you achieve your perfect day.
What’s your template for your perfect day? Does it have the same criteria as mine? I bet you there are some big crossover points here. If you have some time why don’t you put together your template for a perfect day; turn it into an aspiration and then a schedule.
You could also help someone else, someone who seems a bit lost right now with sharing your template for a perfect day. Maybe there’s something you could give to them.