Branding And Career - Part Three: Your Perfect Working Day.
In part one I discussed your branding and in part two, I discussed your target audience. Part three is going to focus on you, and what you really want, because it’s very difficult to get somewhere if you have no idea where you’re going. You may think we already covered this when we talked about your career path. However you could become a best seller and still be completely miserable. Or better yet, you could not become a best seller, and be really happy and content with your life, because you are doing what you love.
This exercise was first given to me by Wonderdog, who’s been a good friend of mine for close to 10 years now. Apparently he got it from his Life Coach, because he’s the sort of guy who has a Life Coach.
The aim is to think about what you really want to do. Not in the grand scheme of things, but day to day. Because as much as we love the idea of seeing ourselves on the bestseller list, or doing interviews, or receiving fan mail, those are all temporary things. A few minutes a week, a few hours a month, if we are lucky. And quite frankly, no one wants to do those things 12 hours a day anyway.
So what do you want to do 12 hours a day? What is going to make you really happy, on an average, boring, typical day in your life?
Your Perfect Working Day.
This exercise assumes three things. Firstly, that money isn’t an issue. Secondly, that you still have to work anyway. Thirdly, that you have sorted out all your shit. However you may not even realise what that shit is until you start this exercise.
Plan for this exercise to be at least 1000 words, or more than four pages. It can be as long as you like, but if you aren’t close to 1000 words, you’re probably not being detailed enough.
You are going to write down your perfect working day. However you are going to start from the instant you wake up to the moment you fall asleep for the night and you are going to include everything in between.
- Where do you live? What town and country? Describe your house in intimate detail, particularly your workspace if you work from home.
- Who do you live with? How do you interact with them? When do you interact with them? What sort of interactions do you have?
- When do you wake up? How do you spent that first important hour of the day? When do you go to bed? When do you exercise? Do housework? Answer correspondence? What is your commute like if you have one?
- What food do you eat? Do you cook it yourself? Does your spouse cook it? Do you have a personal chef? How is it different to your current diet?
- What sort of work are you doing? Does it involve collaboration? Who are you working with? Who are your mentors? How are you interacting with clients or fans?
- Where do your hobbies fit in? Recreation? Volunteering? Giving back? What do you do to relax and have fun during the day? What is giving you joy?
When you’ve finished, look through and think about what you left out. Are you watching 3 hours of TV in the evenings, but in your perfect day you’re not watching any TV at all? Is your spouse out of the picture because they secretly make you miserable? Are you living in the city in your perfect day, but in reality you live in the country?
When I wrote mine, I was surprised how much focus I put on sustainable living. Gardening. Composting. Keeping chickens. Eating food I had grown myself. I didn’t realise how important that was to me, and how much I wanted it to be a focus in my life. I also put ‘watching movies’ as a part of my plan in the evening. It made me realise I don’t have to feel guilty every time I am watching TV—it is something I consider valuable and entertaining enough to be a part of my perfect day. Four hours of youtube was not on my perfect day though, so now I use antisocial to block youtube and facebook during the day, so I can focus on things that matter to me.
You will probably find this plan is deeply personal to you and you won’t want to share it with everyone. I am pretty open with the world about many things, but even I would hesitate to share my Perfect Working Day with the whole world.
When you write it, do so with the intention to show no one. So you really can be honest with yourself about what will make you happy. Maybe you will realise you hate writing, but love promoting and you’ll give up the idea of being an author and set up a business promoting authors. Maybe you’ll realise you hate promoting and love writing, and instead give up the idea of being an indie author and focus all your energy on breaking into traditional publishing. Maybe you’ll realise you hate your spouse and want to live in another city. In which case, please don’t show your spouse this blog post when you tell them you are leaving.
Most of all, I hope this exercise will show you you don’t need to be a billionaire best seller to be happy. And that being a billionaire best seller would probably have very little effect on your perfect day. I also hope you use it to make your current, less-than-perfect days a little closer to you ideal. Small steps can make a huge difference to your overall happiness.
I don’t have a hobby farm yet, but I can see my passion fruit plant blooming on the fence right now in my previously barren yard. Small things add up.