Ideas, tools, behavioural psychology and practical philosophy from Day Crafting that you can put into practice ...


Day: Sunday, where did the weekend go?
Time: Just about 12:30 am

Based on a finch chronotype day of 7am to 11pm.

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Get Your Day Crafting Five A Day

What five things could you craft into every day to help your life flourish? This simple intervention goes to the heart of the Day Crafting philosophy – the good life is more days with time for these activities. The ingredients for a good life are simple, the challenge is intentionally making time for them and giving them our attention.

Two friends hugging

The critical difference between a languishing life and a flourishing life is fairly prosaic. It might boil down to the Day Crafting systems we have in place to enable good habits and the skilled use of time.

People are attracted to the alternative fantasy path to the good life, thinking that a few memorable events, accomplishments, material possessions or status will get them there. Worse still, many people have bought into the happy-future idea that means postponing happiness – or not even starting the happiness project until the conditions are right, turning happiness into a condition: I’ll be happy when ...

To clarify, the challenge you need to become skilled at is: how can you shape the very day you’re living?

Try this Five A Day tool as a Day Crafting primer. Try it for one day. See how you go. We understand that our nutritional health is made up of daily beneficial practice (five fruit & veg) rather than eating junk for a month and then salad for one day. So it is with our wellbeing. It is made up of daily practice not weeks of mindless misery with a happy moment once in a while.

NB: A lot of the ideas below have certain factors in common. They’re autonomous, you’re in control and the choice to do them is up to you. They’re self-contained and you can be self-reliant as you do them. They’re adaptable to a variety of situations and can fit into various gaps in your days. They have immediate and accumulative effects and you’re intrinsically motivated, you’re doing them because you want to, not because you have to. These same factors are good ingredients to apply much further in your days, as you craft your work tasks for example.

Before you choose some optional five a day activities, there are some non-negotiables that you should have daily including safety and security, good sleep, nutrition and exercise etc.

The Practice

Here is the experiment. Choose five day enhancing activities to schedule into today or tomorrow. This needn’t mean adding new activities into an already squeezed schedule. Try tweaking existing activities (listen to an amazing audio book whilst cooking or commuting). Or make time available from unproductive activities (excessive social media or TV). And some of the suggestions below don’t take much time and can double up. Hug a friend you’re connecting with whilst laughing in a park out for a jog = five in one activity!

What are your five a day activities? You may already have lots of ideas of things to do or be or feel or experience. You can tweak the experiment and overcome habituation by choosing five at random and mixing what is on your list regularly to benefit from novelty. This site will generate a random five for you.

  1. Reading for pleasure.
  3. An active rather than passive leisure activity.
  5. Meaningful connection to someone else.
  7. Meaningful connection to nature.
  9. Laughing.
  11. Watch a really good film with no distractions.
  13. Exercise.
  15. Give someone else your full attention.
  17. Take time to talk to the people who serve you.
  19. Take high quality breaks.
  21. Stretching.
  23. Reawaken a dormant hobby.
  25. Have a hug / share affection.
  27. Get outside.
  29. Get lots of natural light soon after you get up.
  31. Really enjoy good food.
  33. Meditation.
  35. Draw / paint something.
  37. Giving thanks.
  39. Making meaningful progress on a project.
  41. Find a different route with time to stop during it.
  43. Be of service to someone who needs help.
  45. Contact a friend you’ve not talked to for a long time.
  47. Learn something.
  49. Rest properly.
  51. Set an intention for the day.
  53. Find a way to be generous.
  55. Do all of your work in 5 hours.
  57. Eat out.
  59. Savour sensory input.
  61. Make something.
  63. Tidy up / simplify / go minimal.
  65. Enjoying music, listening to or making.
  67. Challenge yourself, step out of your comfort zone.
  69. Get into a flow activity.
  71. Be kind to future you by preparing something in advance.
  73. Get up half hour earlier.
  75. Journal.
  77. Do a random act of kindness.
  79. Wear an outfit that you love.
  81. Make time for yourself.
  83. Be mindful during transitions between activities.
  85. Celebrate at the moment of accomplishing anything.
  87. Disconnect from tech.
  89. Send me any ideas you have not on this list.

Written by Bruce Stanley on Fri, June 04, 2021

Previous entries

School holiday Day Crafting primer for children

How can Day Crafting help your children structure their days when they’re on holiday from school? Answering the question, ‘What do you want to do today?’ can be quite a cognitive challenge. My daughter is 10 and we’re experimenting with this tool (which we’ve co-adapted) to provide some inspiration.

Sat May 29 2021

Reset your days to your internal clock

Imagine a clock that told you personally when it was your best time during the day to do certain tasks – such as the optimum time to do analytical thinking or to have a difficult conversation. The best time to eat carbohydrates or to drive or to have sex. This clock could be fairly specific and handle conditions, for example it could tell you when to exercise to perform at your best, or to lose weight or to raise your mood, or to build strength or avoid injury (each of these conditions would give a different time). It could give you a surprisingly long list of optimum timings – like the best time to make a sale or take medicine, to learn something, to drink alcohol, visit the dentist, solve creative problems and get out into the sunshine, to go first – or not, to work on through or to take a break. And unsurprisingly, when to get up and when to go to bed.

Thu April 22 2021

How To Think Like A Day Crafter

I’m fortunate enough to be in control of my schedule, so why does the 9 to 5 work ethic, amongst other influences, still loom and glower over my thinking? I feel like a long departed influential industrialist striking a pose like Isambard Kingdom Brunel is shaping my choices. Along with him is a sports (or business) coach who talks about goals and winning and success. I think there is a capitalist media mogul in there too, pushing rumours and feeding worries about insecurities that I can purchase my way out of.

Fri March 19 2021

The problem with business goals and imagining the future

Why is Day Crafting primarily concerned with shaping today, this day as the way to a good life?

I began coaching leaders almost 20 years ago in the context of their skills development, quality of life and ambitions. I noticed that nearly everyone could easily imagine exciting future goals. I was part of a programme that took executives through a deep visioning process and at the end they knew this: where I want to be in x months or x years time. However, almost none of them knew how to affect the quality of the day they were actually in and most goals were dropped a matter of weeks later. The part of our thinking that imagines the future is no match for the identity and behaviour part that dominates the present.

Fri March 05 2021

The best way to design a new behaviour

I know a ‘lean systems’ expert. Her job, in aerospace manufacturing is to observe processes in factories and work out how to make them more efficient. This involves changing the position of machines and materials and the flow of materials around the space. Crucially it involves changing people: their ideas, their habits and practices, but people don’t like change.

Fri February 12 2021

Redesigning rest and unlocking energy use

Given that the human brain is constantly monitoring our energy budget and predicting our energy use and attempting to get us to balance output with restoration, it is perverse, but not altogether out of character, that the part of our brain that thinks it runs the show should come up with a notion such as, ‘I’ll rest when I’m dead’. Sometimes we choose to believe the dumbest ideas.

Fri February 05 2021

Crafting freedom from the hidden rules we allow to govern us

Last Wednesday the power went off. It was planned. Someone from the power company told us this was going to happen from 9am with power back estimated at 4.30pm. So, as a family all at home in lockdown we scheduled a special day of doing a lot of unplugged things. Including going for a walk after lunch.

When we got back at 2.30 the power was back on early ... so what did we do?

Fri January 22 2021

Setting intentions – the Day Crafting tool you’ll use most

Have you heard of a stitching pony? Every craft has ubiquitous tools, the potter’s wheel, the smith’s anvil, the carver’s chisel – and the leatherworker has the stitching pony which is used to grip the material. To the Day Crafter the tool used most often has to be intention setting.

Fri January 15 2021