Getting Clear on My Ideal Day – What’s Yours?
**Quick Travel Update:
I’ll be in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Washington DC over the next few weeks – I’m looking for couches/rooms where I could crash. I cook, I clean, I help however I can. If you know of something, please let me know – I’d love to meet up! :-)
Last Friday, during my meditation, this clarity came out of nowhere:
I’d like to have a structure where I know when I’m working, and what I’m going to work on.
Sounds totally reasonable, right?
But I had never really thought about it in those terms. For quite a while I’ve worked in blocks of time (two hours or less), and it was pretty much whatever I needed to work on, or what I’d like to do.
There’s nothing wrong with that system (as long as everything gets done and no one gets stressed); I just thought about organizing my day differently so that I’m including more of what I want, and less of what I don’t.
I realized that it’s totally possible to find space to do what you want, move certain tasks to a designated time, and have a wonderful experience each and every day!.
Another nice benefit: once I outline when I work and when I don’t, other people will respond and respect that.
If I’m working all hours of the day, that’s what people will expect. Just because email allows us to communicate immediately, doesn’t mean I want to be on it nonstop. As Seth Godin said, “your InBox is not your To Do list.” Amen.
So here we go…
Nathan’s Ideal Day
6:30 am: wake
6:30-7:30 am: work (morning creativity practice: writing, producing content)
7:30-8:00 am: light exercise (pick one: yoga, tai chi, hips, push-ups, energization)
8-8:30 am: meditation
8:30-9:00 am: journal and declarations/affirmations
9-9:30 am: shower (when needed) and breakfast
9:30-11:30 am: work – more creative stuff
11:30 am – 12:30 pm: lunch/break
12:30-2:30 pm: work – phone calls, computer-related tasks
2:30-3:30 pm: break – walk, connect with friends
3:30-5:30 pm: work – emails, Facebook, Twitter
5:30-6:00 pm: plan next day, recap
6:00-10:00 pm: dinner, relax, read – stay off the computer!
10:00-11:00 pm: go to bed
Will I always work exactly two hours? Probably not.
Will I be able to transition immediately from one activity to the next? Unlikely.
Now as it states above: this is ideal; I know it’s not going to happen every day, and frankly, I don’t want it to.
I think it’s important, though, to have a vision of what you would love – it gives you something to work toward and strive for. I’m almost 100% confident that I won’t have any days that look exactly like the schedule above; that’s not the point.
The reason I’ve done this is to give myself a strong foundation, something to work from and build on, so that I can continue to bring the best of what I have to the world!
Why else do I want this?
Because a life of travel can be very…well, all over the place.
It’ll be nice to have some semblance of what I’m doing next. Plus – moving email/Facebook/Twitter to its own spot (while it will be challenging at first to restrict myself), I think this is going to be a huge benefit to my quality of life!
I think 7 hours of solid “work” time is absolutely great. While it’s shorter than the average work day, I’d argue that when you work in blocks like this, you tend to be more productive than when you’re at an office all day (I know from experience). I’m a big fan of Tony Schwartz’s work on this subject.
Some might not consider 7 hours enough “hustle,” and that’s OK by me.
- This is not a rigidly-timed schedule. I don’t enjoy being militaristic about my life – this is definitely just a guideline.
- I won’t follow this every day. Life happens: we all have appointments, meetings, errands, and other items that come up.
- I will allow for spontaneity and flexibility: I want to have FUN in my days!
This schedule doesn’t account for some of the other things I like to do: travel, volunteer, and go hiking. So as I mention, there will be days where this “structure” will come in very handy, and other days where I only use parts of it.
Right now, the morning 3 hours are pretty solid, and I’m quite enjoying it. In fact, I’ve written many of the recent posts on this site during that morning hour. Very fun to get a bunch of writing done as the sun comes up!
(I’ve written in more detail about my morning and evening practices.)
I recently started using IDoneThis as a way to keep track of everything I’ve completed each day. A very cool resource, with an easy interface, and you can even use it for teams.
For fun, I created a Google Spreadsheet to track my earnings (since 2/1). One of my goals this year is to earn $3000 per month. Another way to look at that is earning $100 a day. I’m primarily using this as a tool to see how I’m growing and if I need to adjust how much time I’m spending on “free” projects.
I’ve been limiting my exposure to bright lights at night for a while now (as it inhibits melatonin production), and I recently watched Alexandra Jaye Johnson’s video on Digital Sunsets. I love the idea that once the sun goes down, so does my laptop screen.
As the day winds down, so do I. It’s easy for me to keep working, and all that light and focus stimulates my brain and can prevent me from having a restful night’s sleep. No bueno. :-)
Cool gadgets for your computer:
If you do find yourself working past sunset, I still love Flux: it dims your monitor – this has totally saved my eyes!
For breaks throughout the day, you might enjoy Time Out: on whatever schedule you like, it will gray out your screen so you can rejuvenate!
So that’s my ideal schedule right now – what’s yours?
I’d love to hear your answer + any other comments you have below.
One last item: Win a Trip with REI to Everest Base Camp or Machu Picchu – contest ends TONIGHT (2/7) at 11:59 PST.
An all-expenses-paid journey to these amazing spots – and all you need to do is write 100 words?! Holy Kale Chips!! Here’s my submission:
Nomad with one small backpack, a modest budget, and plenty of dreams: every day is an adventure! Focused on health and full-time travel, I call this www.NonstopAwesomeness.me. Best trip last year: driving 3200 miles in 14 days to hike/camp solo in US National Parks. So eager to experience Peru or Nepal: such amazing spots! I’m here to connect, learn, share; would love to contribute to a larger cause with fellow enthusiasts. Helpful skill: taking great group photos with myself in the shot! Plus, big fan of REI: my shirt, shoes and (only) pants are from your store!
Looking forward to learning more!