WANTED: An Extra Day for Long Term Planning – Don’t waste your “Leap Day”

People always seem to say there aren’t enough hours in the day, that they don’t have time for this or can’t seem to fit in that. Well, today no one has any excuses. You have eight or more extra hours in your back pocket to use as you see fit. How is this possible? Well, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII foresaw that Facebook and LinkedIn would be filled with grumpy cat memes complaining that we hate Mondays and everyone needs more hours in the day. It was for that very reason – having nothing to do with correcting for solar cycle errors in the Roman calendar – that “leap day” was created, giving us an extra work day.

There are innumerable websites explaining why we have leap years and exceptions for “leap century years” (don’t waste your leap day researching this). However, none of these sites explain how to use your extra day. You could spend the time doing lots of things:

But, I have a better idea. Use it to do long term planning.

Before joining our firm, our office manager insisted that before accepting our offer, we had to agree to implement and follow a mandatory (i.e., zero-tolerance, no excuses for missing) tactical meeting and strategic planning calendar. Every Monday morning would be dedicated to “tactical” meetings where we would take time to answer the following questions: What was our key goal for the week? Who was assigned to each task? Do we have the right resources in place? She made this a condition to her accepting the job. Thank you, Lisa!

Then, on first of each month, strategic meetings would focus on the big picture. We planned out our long-term goals and measured our KPI (key performance indicators) to see if we’re moving in the right direction or if we need to shift priorities. Are we following our road map or do we need to stop and ask for directions? What’s over the horizon? We need to step back to see the forest through the trees at least 12 times a year. An extra 13th strategy day would be great, but what if we used it for a higher purpose? The one that Pope Gregory planned for. (Pope Gregory “the 13th “. Get it!?)

This year, because we get an extra “leap” day on Monday, January 29, and because we already have a Monday tactical meeting on the calendar and our monthly strategy meeting the next day, how will we use this extra day? For me, the answer seems simple – perhaps divinely ordained. Use it for long-term planning. Plan out next year. Heck, plan out the next five to ten years.

Unless you’re interviewing for a job today, you probably won’t be asked “where do you see yourself in five to ten years”? Spend the time today to figure it out, whether it’s planning for your professional goals, your business goals, or your personal and spiritual goals. Then, set a calendar appointment for a year from now, from two years from, even on February 29, 2020 (the next leap day) to see if you’ve met your goals. Hold yourself accountable for the long-term.

If you enjoy this post, pass it along. Its usefulness expires at midnight on Feb. 29. If you don’t like it, then enjoy the next four years before I bring it up again.

[i] Ok, if you’re reading this footnote, you’re a nerd. For you nerds who have made the extra effort, it is indeed fair to point out that the leap year was actually introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC and that all Pope Gregory XIII did was remove 11 days and introduce a rule exception that a century year cannot be a leap year unless it is divisible by 400. Happy? I had to spend 10 minutes on Wikipedia just to preempt complaints by horologists. 5 minutes more were spent learning that Horology is the study of time and dates.

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