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

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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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.…

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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

Doing one thing over and over

In their quest for perfection, some film directors put their actors through a cosmic test of patience. David Fincher, best known for his Oscar-winning The Social Network, shot the opening scene of that picture 99 times. It’s not a record — that honour goes to Stanley Kubrick, who logged 148 takes of a scene from…

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A Day in the Wayback Machine

Boop! The email that appears in your in-box activates brain synapses you thought had rusted shut. It’s from an old university friend you haven’t seen in decades. She found you online and, on an impulse, reached out. Turns out she’s coming through your town next month and wondering if you’re free to meet. Are you?…

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The greatest day in rock ‘n roll history

“Truly a night to remember!” barks the record producer Sam Phillips, round midnight, as he peers across the sound room at the never-to-be repeated convergence: four supernova stars in the same room at Sun Studio in Memphis, winding up an impromptu jam session. The date: December 4, 1956. The stars: Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins,…

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A day of human reckoning

One Big Day is, by design, a sunny can-do project. Implicit is the idea that we might — really should—periodically engineer a single day where we try to make something happen. Something meaningful and lovely and maybe a little bit life-changing. But Big Days also just occur on their own. And sometimes they’re very un-lovely,…

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The day a famous writer made one small change – which changed the artist he became

I’m not gonna lie: the American fiction writer William Gass—best known for avante-garde novels like In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, and one of the high priests of postmodernism—always eluded my tastes. (“O William Gass, you’re a pain in the ass…”) Nevertheless, I find a peculiar choice he made one day circa…

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