You are doing time management all wrong. Instead of trying to manage your time, learn to design it. Life design is happiness training. Whether you call it lifestyle design, life design, work-life balance, or enlightened self-management, the central idea is this: life can be lived consciously and deliberately, and not left to chance.
Defining what you want and devising a structure to get there is a framework you can create for yourself in the search for a more fulfilling life. The joy of defining (and redefining) what I want has finally begun to give me peace over where I am spending my minutes. Taming the chaos is possible if you are conscious of how you design your world. This blog will teach you to balance your time using 3 tested life design concepts. Finally, find that happy place where you feel fulfilled with the things you are up to in your life.
Designing your life is about deciding where to put your energy, and we are poor, sometimes, at managing our own energy. Often we let other people design our lives for us. Your boss, family, UPS person or the train schedule may dictate your life, and that is not the way you are meant to be living.
It’s time for a life design intervention. The first system of managing your time and activities is to redefine success. That’s right, actually look at what metrics you are defining “success” by in your life. Whether its a better title, more money, having a family, or lots of travel, make adjustments based on YOUR needs and metrics.
Try it now: take a few moments and write it down:
What does success look like for ME?
Then set one new metric to live by. Whether its total beach days this summer or total clients won, the benchmark is yours to set (and crush.) Don’t look at what is making other people happy, double down and look at what lights you up, personally. Then measure the success of your life by that.
Manage your time: A happiness framework
The core idea in life design principles focuses on understanding yourself and what truly gives you energy. Once you discover this, you have a framework for taking action. You can focus on activities that give you energy, and lower the impact of the activities that drain you. To create your own happiness framework, try this:
Think of a “peak experience,” or a time you experienced a true high driven by adrenaline and joy. Next, think about the activities, environment, interactions, objects, and people who were involved.
When you do this, it breaks down exactly what about the experience gave you joy. Then you can apply this to your future experiences to create more happiness. When you write down these activities, it makes you more mindful of the situations you find yourself in every day. This can make you more conscious of how you react to the world around you. Happiness can even make you more successful, both professionally and personally.
Look for patterns.
The most important thing that these two exercises can help you do is to reflect. Look for patterns in the way you are feeling about different tasks. When do you feel energized? When do you feel drained? By pinpointing the activities that give you happiness and the ones that suck your soul, you can take charge of your own happiness, setting yourself on the path to a well-balanced life. Work with what feels easy and engaging. These are clues to where your zone of genius lies.
Manage Your Time: Get Organized
The third technique, after redefining success and monitoring your activities, is to get organized. The only time management or productivity system that works is the one that actually makes sense to you and gets you to move forward. The difference is that now you’re armed with the knowledge of your personality and your priorities (the top-down perspective) giving you a good platform to do what matters most.
It’s time to actually try some things. Conduct some thought experiments in your life, try our ways to cut those draining activities. Say no to energy suckers and things you don’t enjoy. Delegate or assign tasks to others. Decide what or who you want to cut out of your world. You will be amazed at how much energy you free up. Write about it and make sure to record the results for your experiments.
Try finding more time for energizing activities, things, and people. Schedule time into your planner to get into the “flow” and spend a pleasurable hour or two doing what you love. Make the time for what’s precious in your life, and guard it carefully. Carve out those spaces where you can walk in nature, create art, work on your side hustle, or spend time with your loved ones. Those times will fuel and energize your world, and time management will work (FINALLY!)
You’ve got this.
You can take control of the way you live your life. Becoming a time wizard takes practice, but taking back that control feels amazing. While there’s a logical flow to how life design should be approached, there’s no one formula or set of values that will make your life successful. The basis of life design is how to create a life that you consciously construct for yourself. This makes each achievement and outcome you create unique and personally satisfying.
Now it’s your turn. Grab a pen and paper and redefine what success looks like for you. What does each area of your life look like now that you have checked in with your health, love life, career, family, sense of fun and play, and adventure? Then start your peak experience journal. Record the times when you feel most alive during the day and when you feel drained. Look for the patterns in what lights you up, and create more of that. This magical recipe, combined with the action you take in designing your life, will change your relationship with time, I promise.