Posts tagged lifestyle
Lately I’ve been getting excited about this the notion of deliberately crafting the form and flow of your life to most effortlessly and joyfully achieve your goals. We focus a lot on what we want in life, but there is not enough emphasis on how we can create it on a day-to-day basis. We are focused on the future– yearning toward the moment when the to-do list is cleared instead of being present and attending to the activity of our work or play. After a particularly unproductive day and a strong feeling of frustration, it became acutely apparent to me that I have all the resources, allies and opportunities I need to live my (our?) dream. The only thing standing in my way is myself and my own habits and assumptions.
So I decided to shift my priorities. Instead of focusing on slaying my to-do list by any means necessary, my new number one priority in life is to craft an elegant lifestyle for myself. My big project is to create a daily rhythm filled with just enough structure to support me, and custom-tailored to my own unique quirks and tendencies. It will be designed to maximize my effectiveness in doing work, and also support my physical and spiritual health, create space for social and romantic connection, artistic pursuits, etc. The design will also be programmed with my major, long-term goals and visions such that I can build toward success on a daily basis. The content of my days are simply opportunities to practice and iterate my life design.
I have no clue how to do this, so I’m just taking the first step. What feels right now is tracking and measuring what I’m currently doing so I can make my own patterns and inefficiencies visible. I’ve started by tracking every dollar I spend, and also logging anticipated expenses so that I have a sense of my working cash balance at all times. The next step is to begin tracking every hour of the day, writing down what I did. I already do this for clients, tracking my billable hours- so why not be as accountable to myself as I am to a client? After all, I am the biggest stakeholder in my own life.
When Lifestyles Collide
Once we’ve crafted a Rolls-Royce of life structures and support systems for ourselves as individuals, the next hurdle becomes learning how to interact and collaborate gracefully with others. Realistically, we’ll probably be working on this in parallel as we hash out own own life design. Regardless, this seems like a ripe opportunity to use new currencies.
I like Metacurrency’s definition of a currency: anything that shapes, enables or measures a flow- a flow of time, effort, information, or life-force energy.
So a lifestyle currency might be a tool that helps us measure our own lifestyle variables and relate it to others. As we become clear about how we want to live, we might declare receptor sites for collaboration and contribution- places where you invite help, support or connection. Lifestyle currencies might be the pheromones that help receptor cites communicate about what is needed and where it is available. My dashboard might indicate that I’m meditating far less than I’d prefer. And yours might show that you’re strong on meditation and have a similar attitude toward contemplative practices. So we might connect and you can tell me how you were able to work meditation into your life on a consistent basis.
Or perhaps a lifestyle currency might be even more interactive. It might show that I’m an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs, and you’re and INTP, and that brings up a red flag when we indicate that we’d like to collaborate on an art project together. We notice that warning, and then move forward, taking care to create a solution that addresses the issue, which we can then contribute back to the dashboard as a possible best practice for enhancing collaboration in the context of this specific personality pairing.
Lifestyle currencies might be a lot simpler. We might use them as realtime guides, perhaps an app on your phone that dings every 45 minutes to remind you to take a stretch break, and then offers the opportunity to log your actions for the past 45min. and rate how motivated or connected to your purpose or awake you feel in that moment. Your coworkers might see that Jay is feeling angry and sad at the moment, which might be a really helpful tool for someone who has a tough time being frank about their emotions.
A Post-Mechanical Operations Plan
After studying operations in business school, I find the whole discipline rather mechanical. My friend Stacy Flynn said it well- one of the big problems with the corporate economy is that it tries to model businesses after machines. The problem is, people run businesses, and people are not machines. So a living systems approach might be more appropriate. Would it be possible for a group or organization to shift its focus toward nurturing the optimal life-flows of its members and designing in-situ currencies to facilitate the organic cross-pollination of skills, effort energy and expertise? Might such an organization drastically outperform the standard and highly wasteful corporate approach to working together? I don’t know, but it sounds like a worthy experiment!
Some iPad thought-art to spice things up: