Boring. That was the word I’d use to describe the recent vacation I took. Relaxed, low-key, and slow-paced could also be used, but the predominant feeling I had was boredom. Boredom that I did my best to silence with sugary breads and candy.
Which kind of worked. Although my energy levels would spike and crash like mad, thus amplifying the, you guessed it, boredom.
The reason for my boredom
Why was I so bored? The trip itself was a casual staycation with my family. Something that I’ve done in the past and enjoyed. Perhaps the familiarity of the experience dulled the excitement. Or maybe I just didn’t bring enough things to do; I had a book and there was a swimming pool, but that was generally it.
I’m a doer-type so laying around all day isn’t that fun for me. Although, that factor hadn’t bothered me in the past. Maybe it was that some people had to work during our visit together, so I was missing their energy. It’s possible, I guess. Maybe it was a combination of all those things. Or… maybe… it was something else…
During my time off, I kept thinking of one thing… Monday. As in, the day I’d return to “normal life.” I couldn’t wait for it. I was antsy for it. What was wrong with me? There I was, poolside relaxing, and I wanted to go back to work. Am I broken?
I missed my day-to-day
Over the years, I’ve spent a great deal of effort on being deliberate. Being intentional with my time and how I spend it.
- From the work I do each day,
- To the people I talk to (and the platform I communicate with them through),
- To the cardio I do,
- And everything in between, my days are optimized for one thing: fulfillment.
I love my Monday through Friday. Some days more than others, sure, but in general, each thing I do in the day is awesome. For instance, each morning I get my daughter dressed. This gives me a chance to play and laugh with her first thing.
Then I drop her off at daycare, during which time in the car I listen to an audiobook on something that fascinates me. When I get home and start work, I spend my time writing – which I love to do. Later on, I do some form of cardio (often running). All the while I either have fun music or my fascinating audiobook playing.
What I learned about myself (two things)
The list goes on and on but I want to keep it relatively high level for you. The point is that my day-to-day is awesome. At least, it is for me. Because I’ve optimized it for fulfillment. If an activity doesn’t make me feel good, I’ll replace it with one that does.
The weekends, vacations, and holidays are great. The variety is needed. But how can you compete with something so deliberate? So intentionally set up? It’s tough. And so that’s what I was experiencing on my recent vacation.
I had a yearning to get back. I missed Monday. The eating healthy, the reading, the quality sleep, the writing, the meetings, the exercise, the goals. I missed it and am happy to be home. From the experience I’ve learned two things:
- I’ve done a great job setting up my daily routine
- I need to start being more intentional with my weekends, vacations, and holidays as well
Can you say the same?
How do you feel when traveling? Are you itching to get back to work? Are you antsy with anticipation? Or do you secretly wish the car, plane, train, and bikes would break so that there’d be no way for you to get home? Do you wish for a snow-in? Do you hope that you’ll catch a fever and be able to prolong the inevitable return for a few more days?
If so, it’s time to make some changes. Because either way, Monday is coming. It will be here once again before you know it. So it’s up to you: do you want to dread it? Or do you want to look forward to it? I’ve done both in my life and I can tell you that the latter option is significantly better.
The next logical question then is: how do you create a daily routine that you actually miss? The answer is simple and the implementation is complicated. Look around at your daily actions and replace ones you dislike for ones that are fulfilling.
How to create a good daily routine
It’s a basic premise. Following through on it can be time-consuming and frustrating though. So take it slow. Optimizing for fulfillment is playing the long game. There’s no rush so long as you actively take steps towards it.
As you go about your day, observe the things that give you meaning and purpose. Things that fill you up. Similarly, observe the things that do the opposite, the things that drain you, put you in a bad mood, or that you put off doing.
With that newfound awareness, work to replace those negative activities with positive ones. The solution may not always be obvious; feel free to apply large portions of trial and error (and error and error) until you get the right fit.
Moving forward with a better day
If you don’t like doing yoga, don’t do it. Instead, try going for a run, or lifting weights, or taking a spin class. If you don’t like listening to the radio during your commute, try podcasts, audiobooks, or doing a gratitude practice. Gradually replace the negative with the positive and you will soon have a day-to-day optimized for fulfillment. One that you are excited to get out of bed for.
And more than just feeling excited, it will be one that you miss when you’re away. You’ll still want to take breaks from it, and those breaks will be good for you, but all the while you’ll look forward to your return with an eagerness that may just catch you off guard.
You have more Monday through Fridays than any other days or events. Optimize them for maximum fulfillment. Create a daily routine that gives you meaning, purpose, joy. It’s worth the effort.