Happy Leap Day! Every – well… almost every – four years, we add a day to the end of February to correct for a calendar that gets just slightly out of sync. The exact amount of time it takes the Earth to orbit the Sun is somewhere between 365.24219 days and 365.25964 days. An extra day almost every four years brings us pretty close to a rolling average of 365.25 days per year. We Gregorian calendar users are not alone. Different calendars from different cultures each have their own way to account for this time drift (from adding leap months to other forms of intercalation). The takeaway from my extensive research of leap years, leap months, leap days, and even leap seconds is that at no point will time ever divide itself evenly into our daily lives. To overcome time drift we need to recalibrate, and we need to capitalize on the time we have.
Take February 29th to recalibrate Your Time
If Pope Gregory XIII had not introduced the Gregorian calendar in 1582, then Bing Crosby would be singing about an Indian Summer Christmas instead of a White Christmas – that’s how much we would have drifted if we lost the 108 leap days between 1582 and today. At NuLabel, in the commitments we make to our partners, customers, investors, and our team, we cannot just let time drift. We need to figure out the best way to account for inevitable, manageable time drift yet continually think what can be done to keep from drifting and what can be done to get back on track. We also cannot wait for almost every four years to leap back ahead of schedule. Let’s use this leap day as a reason to check in, reassess, and ask ourselves: Are we drifting? How do we keep from drifting? How do we get back on track when we start to drift? How often should we check-in to monitor time drifting? What can we be doing to leap ahead to pre-empt drifting? As a team, asking ourselves these questions in different groups and different formats is essential to being agile, accountable, and progressive. Always ask and always challenge how to better manage time and how to better manage resources.
YOLO – You Only Leap Once (in a while)
According to US Government estimates, I get 14 more leap years in my lifetime. Whether it is 14 or hopefully a few more, that’s a really small number to think about when you’re a – *cough* – millennial. Unlike IERS – the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service – which can add a leap second to our clocks with about six months’ notice, time for us is finite. And even though we’ve added 1.7 milliseconds to an Earth day over the past century (to account for slight slowing down in the Earth’s rotation), it certainly doesn’t seem to me like things are slowing down. In fact, we’re probably filling a couple extra hours of stuff in that 1.7 milliseconds – but is it always the best use of our time? At home and at work, we have to take advantage of every leap day and every leap second we get. What new skill could you be learning with this extra day? What daunting task that you kept pushing to the backburner can you slay today? What new questions could you ask, what chances could you take, and who else can you impact with this extra time?
When you get that extra second or the extra day, take the leap. Every time.
Max Winograd CEO & Co-Founder