Good morning ladies, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair and listen in, it’s time for the Sassy Moments Podcast. Moment #11 – Design your ideal day.
Have you ever stopped and thought about your ideal day? Knowing that there is truly no such thing and there certainly is no universally ideal day, if you could design your ideal day, what would it entail? It’s a thought experiment – I love thought experiments. How would you approach it… for you. Design your ideal day.
You could start with your successful future self’s perfect day. You could ask her how she starts her morning, and finishes strong at the end of the day. I am working on the latter part, to finish my day strong. I struggle with that concept since I am very much a morning person. I get more done between 5am – 9am, than between 9am – 5pm, and well, after 5pm I am pretty much as useful as a pumpkin after halloween.
All of this obviously depends on the state of your life today – because, if Sassy at Sixty has anything to do with it, you will be a better version of yourself in one year, and an even better version in 5 years. My future self is not of pumpkin energy and mentality after 5pm. In fact, in my future self’s ideal day, she is more energized and productive by 5pm, because her daily activities rev up her enthusiasm for life. She has learned to channel that energy into new ideas for percolating before the next morning’s writing bursts. Which I suspect is why she wakes up rarin’ to write.
You could divvy up your week – work day versus non-workday – anyway you like. There is no right answer – there are as many ideal days as there are individuals thinking about this metacognition stuff.
I would suggest you start by identifying ‘lead domino habits’ that is, habits that have far reaching impact. Lead domino habits are often the boring routine activities that get squeezed out of our day with busyness. I love the quote by Socrates… beware the barrenness of a busy life. That sounds like another Sassy moment in the making.
The longevity lead dominoes, from The Sassy at Sixty perspective are Love your body and Love your brain. When you love your body and love your brain you end up loving your life and loving your future. I believe this. Truly.
The love your body love your brain dominos overlap considerably. Fortunately what is good for your body is good for your brain. And if your brain is working well, you can manage it much easier. A brain that is high on sugar is like a scared toddler with a knife, unaware she is destroying things. Also another Sassy moment in the making…
Back to the topic at hand – designing your ideal day. In the absolutely brilliant book Essentialism by Greg McKeown he suggests we design our life intentionally. However you design your ideal day, you want to do your best to ensure that whatever it is you are doing daily is moving you closer to the person you want to become. This ties in beautifully with the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, and his idea of Identity habits. Ones that contribute to define who you are, not what you do. I am the type of person who… habits. I identify as a cyclist. I cycle every day. Who before what. That is an identity habit. You have identity – habits both good and bad. I am a non-smoker. I am a non-drinker. I am a sugar addict. I am disorganized.
These habits are parts of my identity. If I want to change my disorganization, I need to build a habit that takes tiny steps toward becoming a person who is organized.
So as you design your ideal day, ask yourself the question – “Is what I am doing, helping me become more of who I want to become?” Listen to your quiet whispers and nudges if you can. Your day dreams may be percolating through. Can you incorporate a tiny slice of that day dream into your ideal day?
My ideal day? It’s divided into a morning routine, writing routine, flex time and evening routine. I get up when I wake up first after 500am. I greet Molly with a Good morning Molly, it’s going to be an amazing day. I cycle. I strength train – according to a cycling/strength training plan. I shower. I grab a cup of coffee. And start my daily writing. My morning routine generally ends by 10am. My mornings are mine. I rarely make a commitment before 10am. Daily writing often drifts into my flex time, depending on the day. If I am on a writing roll, I keep on going. Flex time can include breaky or lunch with a friend, reading or more writing, coaching calls, board meetings, dog walks, cello practice, tai chi… Like the name suggests, I’m flexible. My eating routine is easy and really boring – I fast daily from 6pm – noon the following day. My evening routine starts around 7pm and includes a Molly walk, full body stretching routine, breathing/meditation, homework for life. I’m ready to hit the sheets between 930 – 10pm.
Do I succeed? Nope. That is not the point. This is a thought experiment. I have consolidated my morning routine. Now I am working on my evening routine. And for now flex time will remain flex time as I explore more activities I want to incorporate into my life or remove activities that no longer serve me.
You may not have flex time – I am very fortunate with my coaching practice. I didn’t have this luxury when still in medical practice – as I mentioned in Moment #1 – medicine dominates your life. Perhaps you feel the same way about your career. I get it, I willingly sacrificed much of my life to medicine. Until I couldn’t any more. Don’t let yourself get to that point. Carve out some morning time and some evening time for you – even if it’s only 20 minutes. Decide to make self-care a priority, before your health decides it for you.
Talk again soon.
Live Life, Love Life, Always…