What would you do if you had an extra 24 hours of time?

This month, in fact, you do.

This year is a leap year, which means there are 366 days in 2020 instead of 365. That extra day falls on February 29th, also known as Leap Day.

As we rush through life and run through our daily to-do lists, there never seems to be enough time to do everything–let alone relax and unwind. Leap Day is a great reminder of the preciousness of time, as every few years we are all gifted with one extra day.

If we decide to look at this extra day as a gift, then we can dedicate Feb 29th to something special. Whether it’s scratching something fun off your bucket list or taking care of a long put off home improvement project, there are plenty of ways you can take advantage of Leap Day this year.

But first let’s take a quick look at why we even have a Leap Day at all.

Why Do We Have an Extra Day in February?

A year is the amount of time it takes for the Earth to orbit around the Sun. That journey actually takes a bit longer than 365 days, six hours longer to be exact. To compensate for the difference, the Julian calendar added a leap day to the calendar every four years, since six hours times four equals 24 hours.

Makes sense, right?

But it turns out that the Julian system wasn’t a perfect solution. The Julian calendar, which was approved by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE, was widely used up until the 16th century. The system of adding an extra day every four years was slightly off, resulting in the addition of three extra days over a period of 400 years.  This caused the equinoxes and solstices to move earlier and earlier in the year over time.

This discrepancy led to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, which added a tweak to the every four year rule: the century rule. The century rule dictates that if a year that is divisible by 100, but not divisible by 400, will not have a Leap Day. This generally applies to the first year of a new century, such as 1800, 1900 and 2100. But some centuries like 1600 and 2000 are exceptions.

This change allows the equinoxes and solstices to fall roughly on the same day each year. And that’s why we have a Leap Year just about every four years, with a few exceptions.

So What Should I Do On Leap Day, Anyway?

Now that we know why we are getting an extra day, we need to figure out what you are going to do with it. The good news is that February 29, 2020 is a Saturday, which means if you work a 9 to 5 your schedule is already cleared. Congratulations!

Before you commit to a plan for February 29th, take a moment to assess your priorities. Really think about what you would do with the gift of an extra 24 hours.

If you have been exhausting yourself with work, you might decide that the best thing for you to do is to relax and take a day for self-care. On the other hand, if you have been procrastinating on something you need to do—you might use the extra time on Leap Day to take care of it once and for all.

Now that you have in mind where your priorities lie, here are a few idea to inspire your Leap Day game plan.

1. Learn a New Skill

Have you ever wanted to learn how to brew your own kombucha but never got around to it?

What about starting to learn a foreign language?

There are many countless skills you can learn in a day whether by watching YouTube videos and following along or taking a local community workshop.  There are also many online learning apps and platforms like DuoLingo, Craftsy, Skillshare where you can learn just about anything from how to speak High Valyrian to how to build a table.

You might not be able to become a master in one day, but you might set yourself on the course to being one.

2. Take Care of Your Self

Need a little you time? Schedule a massage or acupuncture session for yourself. Or maybe a fun day with your friends. Whatever it is you need to recharge your batteries, this is your chance to take full advantage of the extra time without feeling like you have to work, work, work.

Need some more inspiration? Consider these soul replenishing activities:

  • Take a hike in nature.
  • Spend a day at the beach or on a boat.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Go for a light jog.
  • Ride a rollercoaster.
  • Go to a movie.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Stroll around your neighborhood.

3. Gather With Friends

Perhaps you’ve had too much “me time” lately and are starting to feel like a recluse. If that sounds like you, Leap Day might be a good time to invite your besties over for home-cooked brunch or taking a day trip together to explore a nearby town.

4. Fix That Broken Whatever

We all have something around the house that needs our attention, and often times we’ve been neglecting it for a while. Leap Day is the perfect time to conquer your project, whether it is laying down new mulch in your garden beds or painting a room. Just be sure to gather your supplies ahead of time so that you don’t get side tracked on the big day.

5. Declutter Once and For All

You binge-watched Marie Kondo on Netflix and you started sorting your stuff, but then…let’s just say life interrupted. If you are living amongst piles of junk you might consider spending your Leap Day taking a decluttering and organization spree.

Whether you organize one room or the whole house, here’s how to do it:

  • Go room-by-room and sort anything that is out of place.
  • Put away things back where they belong.
  • Separate out anything that you might want to donate, give away, or need to toss out.
  • Move anything you need to keep but don’t have room for to the garage, a closet, or a dedicated self-storage unit.

Seize the (Extra) Day

However you choose to spend your Leap Day, make the most of it. This extra time only comes once every four years or so, so be sure to leverage it to your advantage. It might seem like just another day, but it’s a great reminder to make the most of every moment.


Alexander Harris