A perfect day

Dave Pollard gives us his idea of how one might aspire to spend the day:

So, for example, a 24-hour day might be allocated to the following important activities:

  • 9 hours a day for sleeping and personal hygiene
  • 2 hours a day for physical exercise — running, meditation, working out, yoga, hiking etc.
  • 3 hours a day for play — learning things you love, having non-competitive fun, just paying attention and being in the moment, and expressing love and joy in different ways
  • 3 hours a day for conversation — not small-talk, conversations with intention (this time could include meal-times)
  • 2 hours a day for reflection — thinking, reading/watching/listening to actionable information and stimulating entertainment content, and deciding, thinking ahead, considering what it all means and what needs to be done as a result
  • 2 hours a day for creation — writing, model-building, sketching, composing
  • 3 hours a day for action — first/next steps towards doing important things, productive actions that make the world a better place

It sounds good to me,  as I look down the list I feel my life is pretty out of balance, how come I don’t spend 3 hours a day for play — learning things you love, having non-competitive fun, just paying attention and being in the moment, and expressing love and joy in different ways!  Then I read a bit more of his post where he points out:

This leaves no time at all for urgent, unimportant actions:

  • 0 hours a day doing work that isn’t one of the above types of activities
  • 0 hours a day for administration, paperwork, ‘non-value-added’ work
  • 0 hours a day driving to and from places
  • 0 hours a day shopping
  • 0 hours a day waiting
  • 0 hours a day for chores
  • 0 hours a day for small talk
  • 0 hours a day for reading/watching/listening to mindless, unactionable stuff

Ok so now I get it!  But the first list is actually really useful.  I’m going to write down – perhaps tomorrow – how I would like to spend my days and track how well I do for a few weeks, actually for me (like Dave) it’s less about work life balance so much,  but more about balancing the Low High urgency and importance matrix. 

I’ve already posted on the topic a little Work less – achieve more, and my productivity category has more posts as well.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

2 Responses

  1. Nic says:

    I’ve given up ‘perfect’ anything, years ago. I can’t even dream about ‘a perfect anything’. However, I can clearly define what a horrible day is, esp. ‘at work’ (which is increasingly done at home, in the garden, etc.):

    5 hours answering unsolicited, unnecessary, unproductive but unavoidable emails, phone calls and instant messages.
    3 hours of reviewing incomprehensible, incorrect but indispensable design documents.
    3 hours of attending boring teleconferences with people who should not be allowed to talk at all.
    0 hour of useful work, such as writing things for …others to review.
    0 hours to play
    0 hours to learn
    0 hours to eat and drink

    I need to break out of the trap of ‘major Release deadlines’, ‘critically important bids’, ‘do-or-die remedial projects’ etc. My advice to younger engineers is not to work on huge programmes; never mind the kudos. They leave you too exhausted and broken to enjoy what’s left of your life.

  2. Steve Richards says:

    Good advice from the overworked trenches Nic!

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