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

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…

Read More

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…

Read More
Bruce bikes to Seattle

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.…

Read More

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…

Read More

One Big Day Journal

Couldn’t be stupider … that’s why it’s so smart

One Friday not long ago, it occurred to James Altucher that he ought to buy Greenland. To keep it safe. Because “the most northern country on the planet could be the most important for our survival.” James didn’t have the cash on hand, so he decided to crowdsource the purchase. He went to the bank…

Read More >

The one night that cracked open a hundred years of solitude

(photo El Colombio; Marquez (c) and Rulfo (r)) In a recent issue of the New York Times Book Review, the writer and literature professor Valeria Luiselli served up a rapturous essay in praise of the great neglected Mexican novel Pedro Páramo, by the great neglected Mexican novelist Juan Rulfo. She opens with a shot of…

Read More >

A day in your future life

(Photo: Patricia Prudente / Unsplash) Debbie Millman, a graphic artist and former head of AIGA, has an exercise she assigns her students at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She learned it from her mentor, Milton Glaser. It goes like this: Describe a day in your life 10 years from now. One whole…

Read More >

The all-nighter that changed global geopolitics

It’s an exaggeration to say Jeffrey Sachs sparked the end of Communism in Eastern Europe, ushering in the end of the Cold War, in a single day. But maybe not as much as you’d think. Sachs, a developmental economist, was reminiscing recently with an interviewer about how it all went down in summer of 1989.…

Read More >

Batkid lives on

(photo: Jeff Chiu, AP) The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a delivery system of epic Big Days to seriously ill kids. One day to live your dream: it’s a bittersweet gift, in the circumstances. But some recipients defy the odds, and live to savour the memory of a great adventure. That’s the case with Miles Scott, from…

Read More >