Today is a Golden Day. A day where formal work commitments are low, where the kids are being watched, where I can go out on my own. To read, to write, to think. To reflect on what is most important. A Golden Day to work on whatever I want.
I woke up this morning and worked on a few tasks from 6-8am. I turned in an expert report. I responded to an important email. I played with my son for a few minutes with his trains (my other two kiddos were still fast asleep, not morning people like my second son and I are). From 8-9am, I made breakfast for the kids and got everyone ready for the day.
Our nanny (bless her heart) showed up at 9am. She’s taking the kids to a movie this morning while they’re on spring break. And I’m free. I’m out the door for my work day. Fortunately, I had a few heavy work weeks earlier this month at trial and deposition. So today, I just have myself and a few key items to think about.
First activity is a walk with headphones, listening to Ezra Klein and Cal Newport talk about Deep Work. I walk about 1.5 miles to downtown Newton Center, break a slight sweat, think about my day. Then I set up at a coffee shop for my own Deep Work. I block out distractions. I write this post. I get ready for my next task working on the goals and values of the new firm. Then lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant. A bit more reading, writing, exploring, then home at 4:30pm to coach my son’s soccer team. Not terribly “productive”, but immensely valuable.
I get it: I’m incredibly lucky. I say thanks for my good fortune and position in life every day. At the same time, it’s the life I’ve been working hard to set up for 10+ years now. I’ve been in the trenches working my tail off to try to design this life and career. And now, I get a Golden Day. Have I “earned it”? Hard to say. After all, it’s just a day, but a perfect day. All to myself. To work on whatever I find to be most engaging and interesting.
Days like this are important. They are refreshing, creative, different. I change my brain state, and I see patterns in new ways due to the altered environment. My brain has insights on projects that I’ve been working on for weeks. My subconscious works while I sip on coffee. But I can’t be too distracted. It’s too easy to waste the day with emails, social media, and other shallow tasks. So I focus, as best I can.
It’s a good day. The kind of day I live for. To engage deeply with my own mind, before returning back to my family, my work commitments, my responsibilities. It’s just one day, but it’s perfect.
Originally written: April 2017. Republished: February 2018.