How to Craft a "Realistic Ideal Day"
Plus: Your feedback is kindly requested!
It’s hard to believe that we’re already in the ninth week of spring. Writing this newsletter and numbering the weeks of each season has revealed even more to me about the strange elasticity of time.
I think we’ve all experienced the sensation that time seems to slow down some days, and speed by on others. But I’m now noticing it seasonally too – winter went on and on, but spring seems to be hurtling forward faster and faster.
Spring brings a lot of extra work to our home, much of it on nature’s schedule rather than mine. It’s time to plant the garden, fix the irrigation, get the gravel down, the list goes on. The faster I move, the more I try to do, the more time seems to be slipping away from me.
This feeling of being crunched for time is an entirely subjective one, according to Laura Vanderkam, the author of 168 Hours. There are people who feel constantly overworked and constricted around time and there are people who feel they have plenty of time to do what matters. The difference between these two groups has little to do with how much they’re actually getting done.
Instead, she suggests that a number of practices around structuring our time can help build that sense that time is abundant. One of these is what she calls a “realistic ideal day.”
Rather than dreaming of a single picture-perfect day far off in the future, she suggests creating a day for yourself that is achievable. Block off time for the things that matter, while accepting some limitations. Not perfect, but ideal for you right now.
I did this recently when I began structuring my work days into 3 parts. In an absolutely ideal world, I’d probably give myself more time for the “receiving” part of my day, which is my time for learning and absorbing new ideas. It often ends up being only an hour or so (or a quick 15 minute read while I eat my lunch).
So I’ve tried to adjust and make it realistic, rather than giving up all together. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t. But having this structure, along with the practice of looking at my effort each day, has opened up my weeks for more creativity, more work that I care about, and maybe even a little more of that sense of time abundance.
Head, Heart, Hands
Things to make us think, feel, and do.
What Does It Mean to Really, Truly Rest? I have a lot of open questions in my mind about this, especially as someone who has a lot of “productive” hobbies, which can get rather pathological (in my case).
Look at this incredible dress Lindsay made, featuring artwork from her third graders!
Your feedback is kindly requested
Just a quick housekeeping note before I sign off for this week…
I’ve been considering adding some new features to this newsletter, like a weekly book recommendation/discovery, quick ideas and quotes, perhaps a weekly prompt or practice for all of us to try to get in a more creative mood.
I’d love to hear any thoughts from you all, or if there’s anything else you’d like to see more of. You’ve been so kind and generous with comments since I started this little side project, and it’s really meant a lot to me to hear from you.