Sunday, April 13, 2014

Don't Forget to Make a Life

I used to think these sayings were a bunch of crap.  Coming from an "impoverished" childhood and background, my mindset immediately went to: Well, you can't have much of a life if you are starving to death or you don't have a roof over your head.  

It was like I was always defensive about the amount of time work took over the rest of my day/the rest of my life.  Of course work takes up the majority of you day, right?  And there's nothing you can do about it if you want to sleep, eat and live the other 14 hours of your day in some sort of comfort, right?

It took me until this great age to realize that what the message was saying was to not let work consume you until you "convince yourself" there is no time for the other things that you love.  Make what you love a priority, even if you are forced to be at work and not do the thing you love.  I mean, seriously, you can be at work and still think about, enjoy, plan, participate in the things you love most.

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.  Say there is a woman who wants to be a writer--I mean, she just loves to write and tell stories.  But, and here's the kicker, she's a single mother with with two kids.  She manages to have some reliable child care, but she has two jobs. Here's the messed up part, she has two part-time jobs that add up to--not the usually 8 hours a day, but 10 hours a day--and commute times that's really 12 hours a day.  

With this scenario, most people would say, "there goes her dream."  I mean, with two jobs, two kids and no spouse to help out, she's got to let go of something right?  The easiest thing to let go of is her dream of becoming a writer. 

That's where the motto: Don't Forget to Make a Life comes in.

Let's suppose that she refuses to give up the thing that she loves in all of life, the thing that makes her feel really good about herself.  The thing that makes her complete.  Let's suppose she schedules out her day.  

The schedule:  She wakes up an hour early at 5AM.  Gets herself cleaned up, dressed for work, and gives herself a 15 minute block of time to write.  Fixes breakfast for three, wakes the kids up at 6:15AM, feeds them and gets them dressed.  Out of the house by 7AM.  Drops them off at child care between 7:15-7:30AM.  Elects to take the bus or train to work, public transportation takes 25 minutes to get to work.  The great thing about public transportation is you don't have to drive which allows her 25 minutes to write.  Get's to work at 8:05AM.  She gets a 20 minute break at work . . . she writes on her break.  She gets off first job, she already prepared her lunch the night before, eats it on her way to next job while taking the train and writing all the way.  On her next job, she gets another 20 minute break, she writes.  She writes while commuting home, another 25 minutes.  Her mother or best friend picked up the kids from daycare four hours ago.  She spends some quality time with her kids before they go to bed.  She takes 45 minutes to prepare lunches, pick out clothes for the next day, take a shower and then for the next hour she writes. It's 11PM and lights out because she has to wake up at 5AM tomorrow, again.

Crazy and busy day, right?  But guess what?  She got 3 hours of writing in that day!  Most people with time on their hands barely get 3 hours of writing into one day. Sure she's tired.  Sure, that's a difficult way to "live her dreams and make time to have a life that she wants and enjoys."  But at least she's living it, right? She found a way.

But that's what this quote means.  Make time to LIVE your life.  Make time.  Make time to call your friends and have a great conversation at least once a week.  If you have to schedule it into your busy schedule, than do that.  Make time for your family, and guard that time from other obligations aggressively.  If you have to say "No" to someone, to money, to opportunity, to sleep, to whatever . . . so what, make the time!  

The key to a great life is figuring out what matters to you . . . and then, do that damn thing!  No matter what it takes.

That's what "Don't Forget to Make a Life" truly means. Figure out what matters to you and at all costs . . . do it!  On this, I know, you will never regret.

Stay powerful and influential my friends.

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  1. Great article, good advice. I particularly liked the part about having a good conversation once a week.

  2. Yeah, sometimes I get a really focused kind of tunnel vision when I'm trying to reach a goal. I'll look up sometimes and realize, I haven't talked to any of my friends, family, whatever for like 3 weeks! They must think I fell off the face of the earth. I realized that BEFORE I go for a new goal, I need to schedule into my calendar times and dates where I take 15 minutes to call people and just say HI. That way, I don't let tunnel vision ways take over my life and lose my friendships.


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