A single day is one of the core cycles in life. In your lifetime you are probably going to experience about 29,000 of them, so you might as well make them count. A habit, run once, may seem unimportant. But a single change can add up when you consider you will be doing it thousands of times.
Engineering your day also requires you to take a different outlook on big decisions. Instead of asking how that big promotion, changed relationship or move to a new city will make you feel, you ask how it will affect your daily life.
I’ve done this process with myself. From adopting healthier eating and exercise habits to changing how I browse the web and answer e-mails, these changes may sound minor but they really add up over time.
Quantifying Your Routines
You can’t tackle ghosts. You need to make your habits tangible before you can alter them. In order to do that you need to get a broader look at your routines. When you are fighting your way through the jungle of everyday life, you lack the view from the treetops.
Not all of your routines can be broken down cleanly into numbers, but you still need a representative look at how your habits influence you over time. To do that, you need to start taking measurements. I want to look at three different types of measurements I find useful:
Upgrading Your Habits
With a broad viewpoint of how daily actions create effects over time, you are now in a position to upgrade your habits. Changing habits normally sounds like a painful, prolonged process of willpower. In reality, I’ve found the process can actually be interesting as it gives you a chance to modify the core of what makes up your day.
Changing habits isn’t really that difficult. My suggestion is to start with the Thirty Day Trial method proposed by Steve Pavlina. I’ve been using this for a couple years and it works incredibly well. I’ve researched many other methods for changing habits, but none of them match the simplicity and efficacy of this technique.
Here are some other things to consider:
Taking a New Look at Big Decisions
The final impact of daily engineering is taking a new look at those big decisions. Here are some examples of big decisions you may be facing:
No approach will give easy answers to these questions. In many cases, I believe the answer can’t be satisfactorily reached without making mistakes and looking for opportunities. But a daily outlook can give you an approach you might not have considered.
The idea behind a daily outlook is that every big decision is only going to create an impact on your days. Looking at this core unit of human experience, ask yourself, what will the difference be on your daily life. Ignore the abstractions of prestige, money and accomplishments if they don’t have a big impact on what you do between getting up and going to sleep.
The answer that might surprise you is that generally, no one decision is going to have an overwhelming impact. Psychologist Daniel Gilbert discovered that most people overestimate the difference two situations will have on happiness. I would also add that most people underestimate the impact your day has on your life.
Love this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook