Over the summer, my to do list grew exponentially. I expected a break but never really got one. I felt frazzled part of the time and completely wiped out the rest of the time. As a result, I was cranky and short with people, which is really out of character for me. My sleep patterns were all over the place and I wasn’t able to move forward with as much drive and focus as I was accustomed to.
And it all came to a head going into the Labour Day weekend.
I sat down in my office Reading Zone but didn’t read. I just started to think. I looked at my office wall and the framed quote by Herb Kelleher once again.
”We have a strategic plan. It’s called doing things.”
Then I remembered what I wrote about that quote not too long ago.
Then I laughed to myself and thought, ”You know what I need? I need a Clarity Day.”
What is A Clarity Day?
A Clarity Day is a day to revisit where you’ve been over the last several months and then begin to map out what you want to do from that day forward.
I take at least two per year, but it was clear (no pun intended) that I needed to take another. Luckily I’d already decided that I was starting my new year on Labour Day from now on, so why not take Labour Day as my next Clarity Day? We hadn’t made any plans as a family since both kids were gearing up for school and I’d made a concerted effort to get ahead in some of the areas of Productivityist that I knew I wanted to be more proactive with.
Even though I knew that taking one day might take up some of the proactive work I’d done the week prior, I also knew that an opportunity to take a Clarity Day anytime soon after Labour Day wasn’t likely.
So I took it. And I’m glad I did.
The best way to move forward is with purpose and – fittingly – clarity. Taking a Clarity Day will give you a better chance to achieving that.
Setting Yourself Up For A Clarity Day
If you want to take a Clarity Day, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Schedule it well in advance. I like using my birthday because it is a milestone day and I’m generally not expected to work that day. I also use Groundhog Day to do this at it falls right at the midway point of my year. That means I’m getting at least two Clarity Days every 12 months and they line up perfectly with how I structure my calendar year.
- Block off all outside appointments. Make sure you are not available to be booked for anything on that day at all. That’s doesn’t mean you can’t initiate having a lunch with someone or an early morning coffee, but don’t give that power to anyone else but you.
- Ensure the tasks you have lined up for that day are aligned with what a Clarity Day is meant for. Essentially, this will be anything that can act as a distraction and keep you from focusing on the mission of the day…which is clarity. (Actually, making your Clarity Day a “no tech day” or a “Disconnected Day” is a good idea.)
- Book (or find) a place where your ability to have clear focus isn’t going to be a challenge. That may mean booking a small meeting space for the day or asking your partner to take the kids out. It may even mean taking a day off when people won’t be home so you’re free to roam and make the most of the time and space you’ll have.
Once you’ve set everything up for your Clarity Day, when the day arrives you’ll need to make sure you have your tasks lined up to knock them out as the hours pass by. Essentially, a Clarity Day is one big time chunk. So use your time as wisely as possible because you will rarely get a time chunk all to yourself that is this long.
No matter what time of year it is, it’s important for us all to improve our relationship with time because it has the potential to be our greatest ally or a terrible enemy. I find that having at least one Clarity Day a year is key to ensuring time is your ally far more often than your enemy. A Clarity Day really creates a safe haven for uninterrupted decision-making and planning at the same time.
So every time a milestone day like my birthday or Groundhog Day draws near, I look forward to them because the gift they give me is so rare to come by in this day and age. Being able to take a day just to reflect, recharge, and then restart by deciding what things I need, ought, and want to do and then deciding when to do them (or not to do them) is not only worth taking time to do, it’s worth setting aside time in advance to do.
It’s not even that those “things” are worth it. It’s that I’m worth it.
And so are you.