Blog cover for Embrace the Extra Article by Antoinette du Plessis

2024 is a leap year. A year when we can embrace the extra day in February. But what exactly is a leap year?

According to NASA (n.d), a solar year is the time it takes a planet to orbit its star one time. A “day” is how long it takes a planet to rotate around its own axis. So, Earth, the planet we live on, rotates around its axis every 24 hours. It takes our planet 365.25 days to orbit around our star, commonly called the Sun. You may not want a “day” job on Venus, where a single rotation on its axis takes about 243 Earth days or 5832 hours (just think how long January will last there). The longest solar year in our solar system goes to Neptune, lasting about 164 years. A good place to be if you need a study extension.

Embracing the extra day

But, back to earth!

So, a leap year can be summed up as follows: It takes 365.25 days for the Earth to orbit the sun—this is a solar year. We round off the days to 365 days in a year. But we are not throwing away that quarter of a day. To make up for the quarter day, we miss every year; we add an extra day to our calendars every four years.

So, we have an extra day in our 2024 calendar year.

A perfect time to embrace the extra.

It can be an extra opportunity, going the extra mile for someone, making an extra effort to reach a goal, or just having an extra day to rest.

Embracing the extra time

Let’s start with the first thing: making the most of the time. Take a minute and think about how you usually spend your time. You wake up, go to work, and maybe you need to cook and clean for your spouse and kids. Maybe you go for a run and then get into bed to do it all over again.

We get stuck in a daily routine, and we sometimes forget about everything else. This year, try to focus on the extra. If you have extra time over a weekend, prepare meals for the week. Divide the household chores between everyone. Take 30 minutes to an hour and spend it on your studies. Convince your family to take a 20-minute walk in the neighbourhood and spend the extra time with them.

Embracing the extra study effort

If you are studying, take the extra time to prepare for assignments or examinations. Read and study more about the topic or subject you are busy with. Explore different topics and gain as much knowledge as possible. Education and knowledge can never be taken away from you.

Embrace the extra personal growth

Personal growth and self-development are crucial aspects of a fulfilling life. Self-development involves the process of acquiring new skills to increase our chances of success, achieve our goals, and turn our dreams into reality (Tchiki, n.d.). Focusing on self-development can enhance our social interactions, improve our emotional well-being, and offer opportunities to learn new things.

According to Tchiki (n.d), here are some ways how you can focus on your self-development:

  • Develop a growth mindset – refrain from having a fixed mindset because you are scared to make a mistake or people around you will laugh at you. Make the mistake and learn from it. Take on the challenge despite the fear and the risk. The value and the growth you will experience while busy with the challenge and the risk will be much greater than the failure or difficulty.
  • Calm yourself and de-stress – Your stress levels will keep you from reaching your goals and will interfere with your journey on self-development. Learn more about different techniques and strategies that you can implement in your day-to-day life to manage and reduce your stress.
  • Develop your positivity reflex. Life is tough. Every one of us has our own struggles and worries. A negative state of mind only makes the situation worse. Focus on having a positive mindset so the bad times don’t get you down.
  • Take care of your health—this is the most important one. Stay focused on your health and look after yourself. Learn healthy eating habits, drink enough water, and walk around the block. If you get sick frequently or your energy levels are low, you will not be able to work on being the best version of yourself.

There are many more ways to work on your self-development. You need to find the ones that will work best for you and that you will benefit from. So, embrace the extra time you have and search for ways to work on your self-development.

Embrace the extra skills and creativity

Take some extra time and focus on your professional and skills development. Attend webinars and workshops, or complete certifications that are in line with your field of study or your career. You are not limited to online courses only. Check out your community and find out who is offering what and when. Take a pottery class, learn to paint, and attend a photography workshop.

Become a lifelong learner.

Embrace the extra-ordinary life

I touched only on a couple of ideas on how to make the most of the extra time you have. Remember, embracing the extra is not limited to the leap year or the additional day it brings. Whenever you find yourself with some spare time, take the opportunity to engage in activities that add value to your life. You can use the extra time to finally put your business idea into action, prioritise your health by joining an exercise class, or explore your creativity by starting a painting hobby. Embrace the extra time and avoid getting overwhelmed by the busyness of life.

To conclude, I would like to share a quote from Jimmy Johnson: “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”

So, embrace the extra time you have and see yourself achieve the extraordinary.

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