Hit your pillow happy tonight

L’Uomo Vitruviano (1490)– Leonardo Da Vinci

“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”

Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519)

Life might well be finite – your days a limited quantity – but barring an early, unforeseen death, it’s long enough to fit plenty into. Just ask Leonardo Da Vinci.

According to Wikipedia, Da Vinci used his 67 years on Earth to become proficient – sometimes downright masterful – at the following: invention, drawing, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.

Intimidating, right? And yet… Leonardo had the same 24 hours in a day as the rest of us. What did he do differently than other people? Well, as the quote above suggests, he just tried to spend each day well. Days add up – they become weeks, which become months, which become years, which become decades, which become your life.

So if the path to a well-spent life is well-spent days – as it was for Leonardo – how do you spend your day well?

You don’t just “write a book”

Or “make an album.” Or “build a house.” These are multi-day, multi-task projects. Putting any of them on your to-do list is nothing more than a recipe for overload, overwhelm, and ultimately… giving up.

But what you can put on your to-do list are the smaller tasks that, when added together, make up the larger project.

You can write a draft of a chapter of your book. You can record a take of one of the songs on your album. And you can lay the bricks of one of the walls of the house you’re building.

These small and manageable tasks are what should form the foundation of your days. When you chain enough of them together, that’s when you start really cooking.

The one deed rule

If something intimidates you, it’s because you’re trying to more than one thing at a time. You haven’t made it small enough yet. Boil it down to one action.

Name one thing you could do today that would mean your head hitting your pillow happy tonight. If it feels too difficult, make it smaller. Keep making it smaller until it’s easy. Now go and do it.

Your deeds form your days, and your days form your life. You want a better life? Start with one deed.

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