Perceptually, 2020 has proceeded more slowly for meeting planners than any other year that most of us can remember. My goodness, routines have been so thoroughly revamped. Instead of meeting live, much of the time we’re only focusing on virtual conferences. Some days go by so slowly, it seems like the year will never end.
Since mid March, being at home more often and for more days in a row than we care to count, might prompt us to lose track of how precious each day is. Thoughts of how the rest of our days might pass linger on. And how many total days do we have in our lives? 24,000 to 32,000? Whatever the total, for many people, it’s more than our counterparts of a generation ago. Indeed, in 1900 the median lifespan in the U.S. was 49 years old. By 2000, the median lifespan had risen to 77. Today, it’s common for people to reach their late 70s, 80s, or even 90s.
Each Day is Precious
No matter how many days you have on this earth, it’s vital to appreciate each of them. Think of it, there have been eons of sunrises and sunsets since the earth first formed out of congealed gases. Your time on earth is a minute fraction of that.
Ever since the oceans first formed, the tides have been rising and falling. What’s more, the earth is home to tens of thousands of species, many of which have still not been identified and classified. When you awake each morning, opportunities await. A day is such a long time when you ponder the possibilities.
In one minute or less, you can throw water on your face, dry off, stretch intently, engage in a mini meditation, have a big drink of water, close your eyes, take a quick walk, visualize a pleasant scene, check for messages, look at photos, sit up or stand up straight, write a thank-you note, yawn, straighten up your desk, review notes, change your seat, have a pleasant thought or phone someone.
In five to 45 minutes, you can meditate; check for voicemails, texts, and email messages; catch the news on TV, radio, or the Internet; lay your head down for some quick rest; take a rigorous walk; balance your checkbook; water the plants; vacuum; straighten up the interior of your car; review what’s in the trunk of your car; have a brief meeting with staff members; jog; clean your bathroom; take a shower; and get dressed.
Also, you can deal with today’s mail, organize half of a filing cabinet drawer, take a nap, run a PC diagnostic program, download many large files, mentally rehearse a major presentation you’ll be giving, proofread a report, comfortably eat lunch and listen to several of your favorite songs.
In two to 24 hours, you can watch a movie in the theater or at home, attend a local sporting event, spend quality time with someone else, read several chapters of a book, completely redo your file drawer, reorganize your closet with time to spare, clean your whole house, visit a good friend, attend religious worship, write a report from start to finish, or visit a park or other area of nature.
You could catch up on your sleep, enroll in a rigorous online course, watch several steaming movies, read a book, renew your relationship with a friend, clean your home or start that huge project.
Optimize, Not Maximize
Your quest is to optimize, but not maximize your day. You’re not trying to jam pack your time with activity. What would be the point? Having optimal days means there is a balance. Some work perhaps, some leisure. Enjoyment of your meals. Time for friends. Time to reflect. The ability to get out and stretch or exercise, maybe vigorously.
A sense of the power of nature, the appreciation of higher forces, a sense of being reverent—all of these can go into the optimal day.
No matter how trying or exhausting some days might be, invariably some good can be extracted from such days. If you are the type who is motivated by quotes and slogans—if they help to lift you when you’re down or raise you up further than you are—the Internet provides an infinite number of such resources. Songs, as well, can spur you on. If Don’t Worry be Happy works for you, play it. If What a Difference a Day Makes nourishes your soul, listen to it.
Movies can be uplifting as well. On any given day, you can watch inspiring movies. If Chariots of Fire or Silver Linings Playbook work for you, watch them. Poetry, light verse, stirring novels, and inspiring biographies can make a difference in your day. Access to written works has never been more available than it is today.
Take This Day
At some point in your day, there will be time to drop back and punt. In other words, give yourself permission to relax—to simply be. Reverse the old axiom, “Don’t just sit there, do something,” to, “Don’t just do something, sit there.”
For however many hours there are left in this day, and however many days you have left on this earth, recognize that they are all gifts: Gifts to be experienced, and enjoyed.
So, take this day, and love it.
Jeff Davidson is “The Work-Life Balance Expert®” and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people.