Debunking the Myth of the Ideal Day


We talk a lot about our ideal day as if it was a dream world we sometimes like to escape to where there are no alarms, the sun is always shining, you have time to sip your coffee and read in the morning, and you seem to float through the day without cares or obligations or stress.

Sounds too good to be true, right? But really, what makes a day ideal instead of just ordinary?

My answer would probably be time: Time to do the things I want to do, time for things I enjoy, and time to spend with people I love. Feeling like I have time helps me feel more relaxed and rested, it helps me feel in control. And having space in my day makes me feel better about what I do. I'm more engaged and focused and inspired and driven. It all comes back to time management, doesn't it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day - it's all about how we choose to spend it.

It's like that rocks, pebbles, sand analogy: The rocks are the things that have real value - faith, family, friendships, health. The pebbles are things that are important - jobs, commitments, responsibilities. The sand is everything else in life. If you fill your life with the small things first, you won't have room for the things that really matter.

I've been thinking about this the past few months as I settle into my school-year routine of accompanying, teaching, worship planning, and designing. What are my priorities? What things are most important? Those have to go into my day first, before anything else. What helps me feel rested? What inspires me as a musician and teacher and writer? What brings me joy? What am I responsible for and where am I taking on responsibility unnecessarily?

As I think about what it means to plan and live my ideal day, here are a few resources I've found inspiring, helpful, and motivating:

1. This article is full of tips for planning, structuring, and implementing your ideal day, but it also includes lots of supporting research and resource links. Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day.

2. Emily shares some great insight into crafting your ideal day in this post, including the importance of self-care and how to cut things that don't matter.

3. A lot of articles and blogs talk about how to begin your day - morning routines that set you up for success. But what about how you end your day? Here are five things successful people do to end their days right.

4. Setting routines is an important part of managing your time. This post has lots of helpful ideas for structuring your day, including figuring out when you're most and least productive.

Have you ever planned your ideal day? Have you lived it?