Examine Your Life

Here are a few ways to foster ownership of your life architecture. In summary: reflect, test, organize, frame, prioritize, assess, and use feedback loops. Question everything about your path continuously- you are in charge.

Be an anthropologist.

Examine your own culture with critical thought. Buck trends you do not want to follow. There is no need to defend, or trumpet, your choices. Step outside the norm when it makes sense.

Get feedback.

Know your blind spots and how to gap-fill or complement them. Talk to people, ask their honest opinions of you, take quizzes. Get out of your own head when going in circles on tough decision-making. Talk it through with one or more sensible, relevant people. Be open to fresh thinking and ideas.

Know your energy profile.

Manage to it. Some people get energy by being with others, some need solitude to recharge. Know which you need. Make time for it. If you don’t, you may burn out. Some people can get by on little sleep, can keep going when dehydrated or hungry, and have the constitution of a goat. Others have more typical limitations on their daily load, intakes, and capacity. Jobs, lifestyles, and choices should take your optimum conditions into account.

Allocate time with intention.

Create a mental pie chart of how you spend your hours. What you could do if you redirected even 5% of the effort from work or consumption to something different, say family relationships or a side venture? Try it for a week. It is amazing how much time can be saved by cutting out TV or less perusing of the news or social media.

Simplify to save mental and physical energy

Let little stuff go. Automate where you can. Decline burdensome items or projects.

Listen to collective wisdom 

If many people agree on a certain piece of advice and it has worked for many years, do not dismiss this guidance. Give it solid consideration. Things may have changed or it may not be the right path for you, but explore why thinking has settled on the common answer- there may be valid reasons you have not come to accept or become aware of.

Do not leave just your leftovers for non-work life

If you give work so much of your waking hours that you are always crabby and exhausted during your personal life and other activities, you are giving it too much. Pull back or figure out how to recalibrate. You will likely still be as effective as you were before—perhaps more so from lifting off some of the pressure and having better personal time.

Study the choices of the people you admire

Many people who have ample wealth choose to spend their free time enjoying daily life in simpler ways, for example making homemade meals with local produce. They prioritize time with family and simple pleasures. On the other end of the spectrum, many people with financial wealth fall into substance abuse and other troubles. Take note of the core values of those who seem satisfied with their daily existence.

Short-circuit learning

Shortcuts are key. You cannot learn it all in one lifetime. Ask successful people in your field or other fields what they do. For example, if you want to refresh your computer and media backup system, of course there were many options, from cloud storage to external drives. Rather than try to research the options all yourself, ask a friend who works in the technology industry what he or she and friends are doing. Copy their system- save time and go right to best practices of trusted sources.