Update March 20, 10:04 a.m.: Change of space, workout routines and a good laugh -- these were just some of the ideas floated by this week's #dchat participants on how to better design their days. I chose to offer three themes however, that I thought were important to consider when designing better days:
Mindfulness: This involves, at least for me, being more intentional about when I act and when I don't. In other words, making a conscious choice about the meetings I accept, the events I attend and the projects I take on.
Spontaneity: This works for some people and not others. But I find that making room for the unexpected is important, such as going for walks without my phone or taking time to sit quietly and just observe people.
Commitment: When I choose to do something (go back to mindfulness), I do my best to follow through on the choice I made. That sense of control helps me achieve greater fulfillment.
Here's the chat transcript for this week, in case you missed the gathering, and I would, of course, love to read your ideas in the comments or on Twitter:
We'll be on break next week for spring break here at Stanford. But we'll be back the following week, April 1, for our next #dchat! In the meantime, have a wonderfully designed day!
Original post: The clock is ticking down towards spring quarter here at Stanford -- the last quarter for the d.school fellows. This past weekend, they were all in residence at the d.school, one of the few times they have all been in a room together. Time is becoming more precious as their projects begin to gain greater clarity.
But the fellows aren't alone. The end of winter brings with it particular stressors, such as tax season, "spring cleaning", project deadlines and new project launches. So, how do you take care of yourself during this period? How do you design your days?
There are a number of tactics people employ to be more efficient -- everything from regularly-scheduled workouts to unique diets. I'm a particular fan of trying to get to zero unread e-mail messages before the end of the day. ("Inbox Zero" proves eternally elusive, however.) There is Timothy Ferriss's "Four-hour workweek", Tony Schwartz's 90/20 work schedule. There are entire sites dedicated to "hacking" life, and our own Bernie Roth offered his suggestions on keeping to your schedule.
But designing for efficiency isn't always the same as designing for quality. After all, you can have a very efficient but otherwise disappointing day; you may have completed what you needed to get done, but none of the things you wanted to get done. In the process, you may have missed one or more serendipitous, inspiring moments. Designing for better days can incorporate a number of different tricks and methods. There are the little ways we treat ourselves, the ways we capture insights and epiphanies, the ways we start conversations and offer invitations. The actions that we take that may not increase our capacity to work, but rather to enjoy life -- how do you design those?
This is the #dchat topic for the week: how do you design your days to improve overall quality? I have a few ideas that I look forward to sharing. But I sincerely look forward to hearing yours. I'll be online tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6pm PT / 9pm PT to discuss this with you. In the meantime, 'hope you have a wonderful day.