Posts have been getting pretty long lately. Surely this one about the philosophy of happiness and productivity will be short.
“The Perfect Day”
There is no such thing as the perfect day.
So much of the past decade plus of my life has been spent in pursuit of maximizing my own life satisfaction1. Nothing is as satisfying as “the perfect day”, so I’ve made probably dozens of attempts at laying out what “the perfect” day would look like.
Excerpt from the Perfect Day
Perfect morning routine. Wake up early. Glass of cold water. An hour of self-work, sharpen that saw. Healthy breakfast. Identify and prioritize plans and goals for the day. Do the hardest most important thing first. Finish before lunch. Take dedicated breaks. Task batching. Decomposing long term ambitions into perfectly aligned bite sized plans. Minimum viable progress using the 2 minute rule. Walks outside with a friend to recharge your batteries. Leave the office at the office and come home somehow more energized even than when you left. Talk with your loved ones while you prepare a healthy dinner. Eat. Play. Laugh. Create. Consume. Put the kids to bed. Read a book. Meditate. Reflect. Focus on your gratitudes. Drink some tea. To bed early and easy.
Turns out it was futile.
There isn’t a day where you can flow perfectly from one thing to the next seemingly without effort, overjoyed while you accomplish all of your biggest goals and aspirations while simultaneously experiencing zen. That’s just not how life works. You can’t plan that. You can’t force it into existence.
There is no such thing as the perfect day.
There are tons of perfect days.
“THE” perfect day implies that there is only one. There absolutely is not. If you were to find “THE” perfect day, and relive it for the rest of your life (not like “groundhogs day”, but more like make the same routine happen), you’d end up missing out on life. You’d hate it.
Perfect days aren’t an even split of all the things you want to do, sectioned out into neat 15 minute segments. I’ve lamented about the 10,000 minutes we get each week not feeling long enough, well when you wind that down to the 1440 minutes you get today… there really isn’t enough time to go around.
You get done what you get done. You don’t what you don’t. Like isn’t about jamming out as many productive things as humanly possible. It’s about enjoying your time here. Being productive can be very enjoyable, but it’s more important to enjoy the process than it is to complete the process.
When I reach my death bed, I’m not going to wish for one last day to make great content and dazzle my fictional readers, or have the cleanest house there ever was, or code the next new hotness at work or for fun… I’m going to wish for a day where I could sit with my wife and watch my kids play in the lawn. Or a day where I could go for a jog and simply observe my surroundings. Or share a laugh at an inappropriately timed fart.
I have lived many perfect days.
The day I made a friend. The day I fell in love. The births of my sons. The trips I’ve taken to lands afar. The support of family when the unexpected happened. My wedding. Simply playing video games on the couch with the closest things to brothers I ever had. The day I bought a house. The day I sold a house. When I got a job. When I felt like I made a difference. When I drank the best drinks and ate the best food. The unveiling of my first Second-a-Day video. The numerous Christmases and holidays. A random Tuesday where I got to exercise and realized I had a free evening. The day I watched The Avengers in theaters. The first “good” podcast episode we made. The day my puzzle box debuted. When I figured out the OAuth2 process for my Life Tracker. The first day after my worst flare up resolved. My graduation. My engagement. The day we got a puppy when I was a kid. Numerous days my parents killed themselves for that I had no chance of remembering because I was a toddler. The night where we got family photos and the weather was perfect. The times where Melissa and I are perfectly in sync, doing something as seemingly monotonous as preparing dinner, but flowing through it. When my son danced to the auto-play function on our keyboard. The banner picture I use in most of these Columns, that was a perfect day.
Right now where I’m sitting with a cat on my lap, in my sons bedroom waiting for him to fall asleep.
This is perfect.
Top 5: Themes in a Perfect Day
5. Go with the flow
Fighting natural inclinations rarely leads to a feeling of contentment. I’m writing this right now because I felt like it. Is it what I “should” be doing right now? Nah.
4. Move your body
It’s what it was designed to do. If you can move it, you were given God’s greatest blessing. Use the tools you’ve been given for the things they were meant for.
3. Seize the moment
You regret more what you didn’t do than what you’ve done. If an opportunity for adventure presents itself, usually you should take it.
2. Share them with other people
Humans are biologically wired to be social creatures. Connection to others is vital. Many would argue that’s the whole point of it all.
1. Think more about what you’re experiencing right now and less about what you “have” to do later
We spend our whole lives in the present. Don’t spend too much of your daily 1440 hours thinking about what needs to get done tomorrow.
Any day you can take a s*** is a good day. Comedian Chris Hardwick’s dad’s life lesson
This sounds selfish, but I’d argue the philosophy that everyone is doing this all the time. They may be less intentional about it, but I think human motivation is directly tied into satisfaction. Be it a dopamine hit from some piece of candy or the satisfaction from having the moral resolve to resist it. ↩