As you are probably aware, 2016 is a Leap Year and Monday, February 29th is “Leap Day” (as someone born on February 29th I know this all too well!). So instead of moving through this day like any other, consider it a gift for a multitude of reasons: 1) it gives us extra time (1,440 minutes to be exact) and the opportunity to take time for what matters most; 2) it gives us an opportunity to be unconventional; and 3) it allows us to course-correct. Choose one of these three themes – explored more fully below – to plan your Leap Day.
Take Time for What Matters Most
You have 1,440 extra minutes in 2016. How will you take advantage of this extra day? Will it be spent like every other day – full of to-do lists, e-mails, and other personal/work obligations? Or will you decide to make it a special day in some way? And if you spend your extra time doing typical things, then I invite you to consider the energy you bring to those activities. As Jim Loehr, co-founder of the Human Performance Institute says, “The investment of time alone has zero value of return. What matters is bringing your best energy to the time you have.”
Take a leap this Leap Year day and commit to using the time and your best energy to focus on what really matters most instead of reacting to what gets thrown your way. The challenge for you this February 29th, is to take 10 minutes to consider the following:
- Is how I spend my time consistent with what I value?
- Do the activities that consume most of my time contribute to my personal and professional goals?
- What one habit am I willing to make, or break, in order to effectively spend my time and energy on activities that matter most?
- What is one activity that I continue to push off to the side, claiming that I don’t have enough time for? And what one commitment will I make that supports my engaging in this activity?
And don’t worry about taking 10 minutes to complete the above questions . . . you still have 1,430 minutes left to play with!
As legend has it, the concept of a woman proposing marriage to a man has its roots in 5th century Ireland with the tradition continuing in Scotland in 1288 when a law was passed allowing women to propose marriage on Leap Day. In those days, that was unconventional!
Being unconventional doesn’t necessarily mean you become a stringent activist or act unlawfully, so what would “unconventional” mean to you? In what ways could you do something original or take a slight risk on February 29th? What might you say or do differently that you wouldn’t otherwise? Take a risk this leap day even in small doses. For example: speak out if you normally stay quiet, stay quiet and allow others to share their opinions if you normally are first to speak, take a different route to work, or change up your work-out routine. Choose one unconventional action and commit to taking it on February 29th.
Leap Day is essentially a course-corrective measure. This course-correction in our Gregorian calendar was made in the 16th century to reflect a more accurate solar year (it actually takes the Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds, to travel around the sun). Course-corrections in life are necessary if there is something we are doing (or not doing) to have the work and professional life we most desire. Making a course correction requires change, and change is hard. We are wired to think and act in a habitual way.
What is the one area of your life (a personal relationship, a work relationship, physical health, financial health, personal growth/development) that could benefit from a course-correction? Take this Leap Day to do “just one thing” (refer to the January 2016 JOT it Down blog) that will move you closer to where you want to be. Let Leap Day be a catalyst to more “just one thing” course-corrective actions and before you know it, you’ll have made significant progress on your goal.
I hope you take advantage of this leap day and all the gifts it provides. Take your own personal leap of faith to use the extra time for something meaningful, to be unconventional, or to course-correct. And if none of those resonate for you, then simply enjoy your extra 1,440 minutes this year!