Designing your ideal day is a fantastic method for figuring out what your life goals should be if you’re having trouble coming up with them on the spot. The first time I had to complete this exercise, I just had to draw a picture. I drew myself writing at a big dining room table in front of a window with a great view of a backyard thick with trees and flowers.
More recently, everyone I read is telling me to write it out. What country would I be in? What would I eat for breakfast? Where would I go after that? (Chris Guillebeau suggested Paul Meyers‘ worksheet, and I have that on my Nook now. ) I’ve spent a lot more time reading about this exercise than writing about it because I am reading about getting location independent like it’s my job after I finish working every day.
I was thinking about it so much, though, that my brain was bursting a little and I had to get some ideas out. I finally went to Pinterest and made a board for “My ideal day“.
When I finished finding pictures of what I’d like to do from the time my feet hit the floor in the morning until my head hits the pillow at night, I was pretty amazed. I didn’t realize how much I craved nature, and I didn’t realize that I really want a simple kind of life. There was nothing so fancy that I couldn’t have it right now if I wanted, except for more time to do the things I want to do.
I decided to take some steps to make my life a little bit more like my perfect life right now. I stopped eating breakfast and lunch in a lazy haze at my desk while I checked Facebook and started taking breakfast on our already-awesome back deck. I try to have lunch outside, too, and I take walks during lunch when I can.
I started opening my windows in the kitchen, too. We live in a quiet neighborhood: there’s plenty of space between the houses and most people have lots of trees in the backyard and gardens in the front. If I open the windows and take in the view while I’m on the computer, eating dinner, or cooking, I’m getting sunlight and I feel a lot less like I’m cooped up inside.
I realized, too, that dark chocolate and coffee are two small things that bring me a lot of pleasure, and they are already sweets that I consume on a daily. If that’s all it takes to make me happy, I can feel less guilty about buying some fancy new organic chocolate or a treating myself to a cup of coffee from the cafe. It’s the pricey clothing spending sprees or expensive nights on the town that make me feel bad about my spending habits, but those kinds of indulgences literally weren’t in the picture.
When it was obvious how little it would take to my days a little more perfect, I realized how grateful I should be for such a charmed life. Sure, I want to be able to move around on my own schedule, and that’s a goal I will keep working toward, but it’d be a huge waste not to enjoy where I’m at right now: surrounded by beauty, friends, and love with easy access to decent coffee and gorgeous chocolate.
I still have some questions that I don’t know the answer to, however. It was easy to find pictures of beautiful spaces for writing, but do I want to own a home or flit from beach resort to forest lodge? Or can I swing some combination of the two? What country do I want to be in? And what kind of writing is going to support me? I also have to figure out how J fits in this picture, beyond the person I eat lunch and dinner with.
Even with these questions, having a clearer image–and one composed of pictures, not just words–has been a powerful aid in getting me focused on my real goals, and not the dozens of pleasant distractions I am always indulging.
What does your ideal day look like? Tag a Pinterest board with #myidealday and #amateurvagrant and let’s discuss!