There is a lot of talk about how “life is short”, “live in the moment” and all that, but if we don’t change the way we look at the hours in our day, it’s just talk. Here is a way of looking at the world that puts doing what you want ahead of everything.
Were Does Your Time Go?
Everything you do falls into one of three areas (sleeping excluded).
Sustaining is keeping it going. Mowing the lawn, brushing your teeth, paying the bills, getting your kids ready for school in the morning, getting your annual physical and earning money.
Living is the best things in life. The things that you never want to stop doing. Maybe that’s your art, walking on the beach, working for a cause, playing with your kids or talking about a subject you are devoted to.
Building is creating things that increase the amount or quality of time you spend Living in the future. Building relationships, creating passive income streams, writing a book, or building a business. Most people spend almost no time Building.
This is how most people’s lives look:
The size of the sphere indicates how much time they spend in that area.
Why This Isn’t Working
The Living sphere is too small. The Sustaining sphere is the biggest. Building barely exists. Living starts after the work day is complete, only after all the Sustaining is done; late evenings, weekends and the sacred two weeks of paid vacation.
After an exhausting day that has been eaten up by Sustaining, most people can only muster a few hours of TV on the couch before falling asleep so they’ll be rested enough to go do it again. Too tired to even think about Building.
The Second Problem
The spheres don’t overlap. Sustaining, Living and Building are completely separate. You stop doing one in order to do another.
It’s supposed to look like this:
Living and Building got a lot bigger and Sustaining got a lot smaller.
It Gets Better
The spheres overlap. Large parts of Building and Sustaining lie inside Living. It’s not enough to just make the Living sphere bigger and the Sustaining sphere smaller. You have to bring Building and Sustaining inside the Living sphere.
There are two ways to deal with Building and Sustaining.
- Move them inside the Living sphere.
- Get other people to do them.
Move Stuff Inside the Living Sphere
As I write this article, I’m Living. I’m sitting on my patio next to a fire on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon writing (one of my favorite things to do) about Lifestyle (a topic to which I’m fiercely devoted) and this work Builds my business and spreads my message. So, I’m Building and Living.
If I had an accounting firm and was writing a newsletter to my clients, I’d hate every second of it. Accounting is boring and I wouldn’t be Living; I’d be Building, but outside the Living sphere.
You don’t just get up one day and decide to like everything you do. Building a Lifestyle takes commitment. But most of all, it means you have to stop doing it like you were taught. Stop doing it like everyone else does it and do it YOUR WAY.
Get Other People to Do Stuff
Pay someone to mow your lawn, pay someone to do the laundry, pay someone to make dinner. Pay someone to do all the crap you don’t want to do.
You’re not going to be able to completely outsource everything outside your Living sphere. I don’t know how to get out of your annual dental cleaning! If you have any ideas, let me know.
You might say, “But I Can’t afford to pay someone to do everything I don’t want to do!”
I can’t either. Getting your Building and Sustaining spheres 100% inside the Living sphere is a destination you’ll probably never reach. That’s OK.
Get as close as possible.
Your happiness is directly determined by the size of your spheres and how much of Building and Sustaining lie inside Living.
Don’t go outside your Living sphere.
Take out a piece of paper and a pen. Draw your Lifestyle spheres twice. First draw them how they are now. Then draw them how you want them to be in six months.
Next, Write down the one thing you can do that will move you toward your goal the quickest. Here is a template you can print out and use.
Put this page up somewhere where you will see it every single day. Better still, put it somewhere you will see it several times a day.
Don’t go outside your Living sphere. Every minute outside Living is a minute of life that you’ve lost forever.