Happy Leap Year: 29 things to do with an extra day


Leap years are a bit of a con. Although technically we all get an extra day once every four years, 5 times out of 7 that's just going to mean an extra day working for The Man. Yet in a world where we're all short of time, I still think that extra 24 hours can be a bit of a gift. The world has moved on a bit from a time when February 29th was the only moment for women to propose - so here are some more modern - and hopefully spiritually edifying things you could commit to doing this Monday which will make great use of the extra time. Some are easier than others; some will enrich your own day and others are more outward-focused. And in a fabulous coincidence, there are 29 of them...

1. Spend no money 

Harder than it sounds; see if you can get through the entire day without spending a penny.

2. Hide your phone 

Put it away, and don't look at it until Tuesday morning. Alternatively, fast from social media for the rest of the day.

3. Call someone you really love

You know that person you always mean to call but life gets in the way? Ring them today - you've got extra time!

4. Say hi to your neighbours 

You've lived next door to them for 14 years. Today's the day you finally make contact.

5. Concede a point

The world is far too full of bullish arguments where no-one backs down; so today, deliberately submit to someone in either online or offline discussion.

6. Pray for North Korea 

Perhaps the most dangerous country on earth needs our prayers, as do its millions of residents. Pray too for Christians, persecuted horrifically for their faith there.

Christians pray for starving North Koreans during a prayer session in Seoul.Reuters

7. Sign a petition 

So many campaigns need for your support; search online for one you agree with - sign and share it.

If you need ideas, sign this asking the Welsh government to stop housing teenagers in unsuitable bed and breakfast accommodation, this asking for help for Yazidi girls kidnapped by ISIS, or this calling on supermarkets to tackle food waste in their supply chains.

8. Watch / listen to this 

Perhaps the best, funniest, most inventive and thought provoking Christian music video ever.

9. Make something

A cake, a card, a song - it doesn't matter. Use your creativity.

10. Spend time with someone elderly

Older people have so much wisdom; and they're often overlooked and quite lonely. Address all these things with a single visit.

11. Go outside

Take a walk in the fresh air at lunchtime, get off the bus or tube a stop early, or just go and sit in the garden.

12. Listen to a worship album

If you're the sort of person who doesn't normally do that (Bethel's latest 'We Will Not Be Shaken' or the lesser-known 'Housefires II' are a great place to start).

13. Go to bed on time

If at all possible, nail the full eight hours and wake up tomorrow feeling better about everything.

14. Eat well

Be a salad, fruit and fish person, just for the day.

15. Spend time in silence

Take five minutes. Listen to God, and don't fill the space with your own thoughts.

16. Listen to someone

There's always someone in every day who wants you to sit and listen to them; today stop what you're doing and make time.

17. Book something to look forward to

A holiday, a cinema trip, a walk, a get-together with old friends... Get it in the diary today.

18. Write a to-do list

If you never normally do that, and see how many things you can tick off; or spend a day being impulsive and list-free if you're usually tied to your to-dos.

19. Start a new book 

Choose something that you'd never normally pick up. Consult a list of must-read classics if you need inspiration.

20. Finish work on time

Or even a bit early if you can, and use the time well (your employer can't really complain; they're getting you for free today!)

21. Try a food you've always claimed to hate

Got one of those weird food dislikes that you've had irrationally since childhood? Time to try breaking it.

22. Apologise

Say sorry to someone for something you know you've done wrong; today or ten years ago.

23. Tell someone about your faith 

No cheating, tell someone who isn't already a Christian!

24. Have a clear out 

Simplify a room, or an area of your life, or just your desk at work.


25. Encourage someone

Make a fuss of someone who deserves and wouldn't expect it.

26. Take an impromptu trip

To visit friends; to a place that's special to you; or just get in the car/on the train and ask God to lead you somewhere amazing.

27. Face up to a fear

Catch a spider with your bare hands; stand close to a pigeon; (safely) face up to a phobia.

28. Pray for someone else

And if you're feeling really brave, do it while they're standing next to you (you should probably also tell them what you're doing).

29. Make a list of aims for the rest of the year... 

...and get started on them right away.

Choose one, two, three or 29 of the items above, and I think it will make a difference. Which is a great encouragement of course, to do exactly the same thing tomorrow. Jesus talked about coming so that we could live life and have it to the full, yet so often our lives are dominated by repetitive processes and handheld distractions. But it's the small changes to everyday routines that end up changing the way we live, so why not use today to catalyse something bigger?

Martin Saunders is a Contributing Editor for Christian Today and the Deputy CEO of Youthscape. You can follow him on Twitter: @martinsaunders