I’ve read several books lately that advise imagining a perfect day and then comparing your current life with that perfect imaginary day.
So I did.
There’s not that much difference, actually. Some of the differences are time management things. My perfect day could begin with a cup of tea and this journal, but it would then go on to a nice breakfast at the table by the window overlooking the garden, not a bowl of Raisin Bran eaten while working. In fact, the perfect day would involve getting to the gym and having a shower before beginning work.
There is nothing keeping me from doing that. I just have to do it.
Then the perfect workday would end not with me giving up because everyone has come home and started pestering me and making noise, but in my completing my task and finishing up before they arrive, and taking the dogs for a walk as a good transition to time off. Then I could talk with my family and prepare a wholesome meal before heading out to rehearsal.
This does mean working less. That is, having an eight-hour workday instead of an eleven-hour one. If that’s not enough, though, it would be better for me to finish up in the evening after rehearsal.
My perfect day takes place in a pleasant, tidy house. That means spending some time on housekeeping instead of working on Saturdays.My perfect day also includes healthy veggie-filled meals, not take-out pizza and ice cream.
All those things are about time. The worktime in my imaginary perfect day was the kind of day I really have: a couple of different interesting assignments, a meeting or class for human contact, a surprise of some kind to keep it exciting. Oh, and I had plenty of work on my calendar and a bit of money in the bank, so I didn’t let worry about finances cause me to work unreasonable extra amounts.
The other thing that was different about my perfect day was that my menfolks were interested in what I was doing. I was given tickets to a show tonight by one of my pro bono clients, and my husband doesn’t want to go with me. My son said he’d go if I really wanted him to and I couldn’t find anyone else. My daughter says I shouldn’t feel bad; married women always have trouble getting dates.
In my perfect day, my family hung out with me while I cooked dinner and we talked about how our days had been, and then had dinner together. In real life, that only happens when my daughters visit. Otherwise, the guys watch TV and play video games. And then four nights a week I’m out, #2 son works most evenings, my husband goes out with the guys on a couple of the evenings when I’m in, and we probably spend no more than half an hour a day in conversation. They have no idea what I do, and can’t really be expected to find any fascination in the saga of the grayhat linkbuilder in the Philippines or the failure of the MP3 site to improve following my ministrations. And they have the TV on most of the time. There was no TV in my perfect day.
Still, there are parts of the perfect day fantasy that I could use to motivate myself to improve the structure of my day. It’s not as though I haven’t thought of it before. I just have to do it.
As for today, I got up with my husband at 4:20, made his coffee, checked my email, sent him off to work, and went back to sleep. Now I need to have breakfast and do the grocery shopping before getting back to Client #3’s office.
Yesterday’s surprise was that the new site misbehaved. In fact, on her machine, it misbehaves every time you try to get it to go fast. So, instead of getting it all fixed up and ready yesterday afternoon once I got the all-clear to start putting in the content, I spent the afternoon doing things and redoing things and shutting down and restarting and hitting F5 and calling the webmaster and trying to look serene for the client, since The Computer Guy is the webmaster here. Usually, I feel that I can get a little testy with the webmaster in these situations, but in this case, I recommended him and am working with him on it, so the client’s increasing agitation required reassurance.
It also requires me to go down again this morning and spend the day there, essentially on a voluntary basis, since she’s a Dark Art Lite client and used up this month’s time days ago.
Still, my perfect imaginary day does involve a little surprise. I think I like a little bit of a crisis, even. It makes the day interesting. You can’t want surprises and then fuss when they turn out to be crises.
I guess my perfect day ought to involve a cleaning service that would come in and clean the house while I’m gone. Or a sudden change of heart among my menfolks that causes them to do it. Or maybe it should involve me enjoying a vigorous half hour of housework every day during my (imaginary) lunch break. That might be more realistic.