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What's a Big Day?

To knock off anything ambitious you generally need two things: unbroken time and sustained focus. But nobody has the first, and we’ve lost the muscle for the second. The solution – one solution, my solution – is Big Days. I’m suggesting you carve out one 24-hour block of time per month and devote it to a single task. When you clock back into your life the next day you’ll have put something significant in the books – be it soul work or work work. And no one will even know you’ve been gone.

One Big Days

Make a Home Movie

My second Big Day could not be simpler. I will make a movie. Not a scripted movie with commercial aspirations. No, just what we used to call, back in the day of Super-8 film and those big banks of lights Dad schlepped around, a “home movie.” Digital media has made movie-making ultra-convenient; but the downside…

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Write and Record a Song — Curtis Galbraith Rediscovers the Old Mojo

  Curtis Galbraith was a songwriter, vocalist and bass player for a number of indie bands of some repute. Then he became a suburban dad. The music’s still in him — it’s just buried under ten pounds of laundry. So Curtis took the Big Day challenge. He retreated to his basement studio – complete with…

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Create a “Theme Day”

Not long ago I found myself in the Chicago area with a day to … I almost said “a day to kill.” Days are not cockroaches — don’t even think about “killing” them. Look upon a day, instead, as a pile of Lincoln Logs. You’re going to build something. The possibilities are endless, but odds…

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Go as Far as You Can Under Your Own Power

Failure is an option — but it’s obviously not Plan A. There’s no avoiding the brute truth: this, for me, is a ridiculously big bite. I haven’t done anything like it since I paddled a kayak across the Georgia Strait, through the shipping lanes, from Victoria to Vancouver. That was 25 years ago. Another lifetime.…

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Set a World Record: John McAvoy’s remarkable row to freedom

    Feb 16, 2011: Lowden Grange prison, Nottinghamshire, England.   The first question John McAvoy had was, What time to start the clock? When you’re about to bear down for 24 hours straight on an endurance record, timing matters. “If you start in the morning, you’re going to finish in the morning,” said Darren…

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One Big Day Journal

24 Hours with the Stanley Cup

With hockey season finally about to resume – it was a looong summer for those of us whose teams were mathematically eliminated in April – it seems apt to do a post on one of the coolest traditions in sports. Remember how in school some lucky kid got to take the hamster home overnight? The…

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Maarten van der Weijden’s Big Swim Day

On March 1, Dutchman Maarten van der Weijden climbed into a swimming pool in Oosterhout, wearing special swim goggles fitted with lights to combat drowsiness, and when he climbed out the next day, he’d put 102.8km (63.87 miles) behind him. That’s the farthest anyone has ever swum in 24 hours. It beats a mark that…

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How Many Micro-Decisions Do You Make in a Day?

Making decisions all day long — as judges and referees and bond traders and chess players will tell you — is exhausting. “Decision fatigue” is a real thing. Decision-making depletes the limited resources in our executive brains, reducing us to cataleptic meat sacks by the cocktail hour.  But what many people don’t realize is that…

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The 5 Best Things Ever Written in an All-Nighter

Your big, for-all-the-marbles essay is due tomorrow. You haven’t even started it. Cue the woe, the surrender, the Carole King. It’s too late, baby. Even an all-nighter isn’t going to save you now. But here’s the thing: it might. Sometimes that impossible deadline is just what you need. Sometimes you can pull a rabbit out…

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The Day That Changed Baseball*

If the Los Angeles Dodgers win the 2017 World Series — they’re deadlocked 1-1- with the Houston Astros as I write this — you can chalk up the victory, at least in part, to the very strange thing that happened on May 29, 2009. On that day, a comet appeared out of nowhere. Clayton Kershaw,…

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