However, most people have something they would like to change. It may only be one thing, or it may be everything in their life, but this book is designed to help the reader make their life more complete. If you seem stuck in a rut, then take a few hours to read Designing Your Life and put yourself on the road to creating the life you want.
Whilst the tagline says build the perfect career, this book takes a look at the whole of your life. But with so many people working on jobs that do not make them happy, then obviously this is a good part of our lives that we are spending time on, that doesn’t put a smile on our face. Let’s face it, we choose a degree or career path when we are so young, and have very little life experience. But does that mean we are stuck in that field for the rest of our lives?
The authors encourage you to look around your home – note that everything that is in it has been designed. So whilst you are surrounded by these designed objects, why not think like a designer and mould your life in the same way.
A well-designed life is one that allows you to be creative, happy and fulfilled. It helps you to avoid feeling trapped and useless while giving you a sense of freedom to change and grow, no matter how old you are.
There are four areas in your life that you need to look at: health, work, play and love. How does your life look in each of these?
The goal is to find a healthy balance among all four of these areas, but the balance will be different for each of us. Someone in their teens will find play to be a big part of their lives, while an elderly person might focus more on health. Take a look to see how your life is in each of these areas.
Once you have taken stock, you will know if one area is feeling neglected. If you have been concentrating on your career, you may find that your relationships have suffered. So love, and indeed play, will be lower than you would like them to be.
Once you have done your assessment, you need to start to put things right. By asking basic questions, you can start on the road to repairing the balance. For example, as you have grown, you realise that you enjoy writing, and want to become a journalist. But do you know what a journalist’s life is really like? If possible, seek out the answers – it may not be the life you really want, after all. Maybe your writing skills could be better utilised as a novelist, or in brand marketing, blogging, or even as a poet!
It’s key to get your work and your life in balance – does your work make you feel good? You may be the best person at negotiating contracts with overseas companies to import food, but if you feel deep down that this has a negative impact on the planet, then maybe you would be better off working for a company that promotes eating fresh food that is locally sourced?
When you start designing your life, reflect on your work and your life philosophies and write down at least 250 words to accurately describe both. Don’t take too long on this, but once you have finished, you can look at how they correspond. If they are polar opposites, then it may be time to look at a new career that is a better fit, because at some point you are going to question how you spend your 7 or so hours every day.
How about what makes you feel energised – when you are playing, what gives you the greatest sense of engagement? If meeting friends makes you feel alive, then note that down. Perhaps volunteering locally give you a sense of purpose and achievement. It may be that striving to be the best at your sport gives you a rush. Whatever you find you do that puts a smile on your face and a spring in your step, try to design more time to do that each week.
The authors encourage you to create a Good Times Journal. This is where you jot down the things that make you feel good, feel energized. This also should be used for the things you do at work.
But what happens if you feel stuck? Using a mind map, write down what you really enjoy. If you find that you have no energy at work, but you feel liberated when you volunteer at the local forest, then write down Conservation, Outdoors, Manual Work on a mind map. Then branch off each of these and see if this throws any light on what you enjoy the most. Maybe a change of career to working in conservation for the National Trust jumps out at you?
By choosing to change from an unhappy career to one that gives you more life fulfillment, you will be well on the way to designing the life you love.
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