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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Awesome Life Hack 2


Ok.  Here is a second life hack.

Take a piece of paper and on the top half, list things that you live to do. Making music, reading poetry, being in love, fucking, looking at art, cooking, mentoring other people... Whatever it is.  This is your top tier. Things you would do all day long if you could design your own life with no financial or any other kind of contingency. You don't think of these things as beneficial because they lead to other results, but as inherently valuable.  

Don't think of it as "life-work balance." The top tier of life includes things that belong to professional life (if you're lucky) or to personal life, if you're lucky.  What I am suggesting here is a balance of another type.  

On the middle of the paper, list things that are necessary but not necessarily pleasurable. For me, it's exercise and meditation, sleep, cleaning and organizing, and the less pleasurable parts of professional life. These things support the top tier. 

Now you might be lucky, and find that exercise and meditation belong to your top tier. Then you won't have to force yourself to do them.  For me, luckily, cooking is in the top tier, so I don't see at as a tedious chore.  Everyone's list will be different.   

On the bottom is your lower tier. Here binge watching netflix, drinking, or ruminating, randomly going through comments on a blog post on the internet... These fill time but are do not support the top tier, and may even undermine it, to the extent that they foster depression and anxiety.  

So two thirds of one's life, in this scheme, is positive: it is either what one lives for, or something supportive of it.

Once you have the paper filled out, then you can easily see what the next steps might be. For me, for example, it is obvious that I have to do more in the middle tier and less in the bottom one.  I can eliminate random internet browsing and limit binge watching of netflix to after 8 p.m.  

***

Another way to do this hack is to map out your life using other schemata: you don't have to follow mine. You can use a bookkeeping scheme to talk about assets and liabilities, or use the life / work equation that many prefer.  I prefer mine, because it shows the relation between the middle and upper tiers: a simple list of positives and negatives does not do that, but you might come up with something even more brilliant.  

3 comments:

Leslie said...

I really think the 3-tier plan is brilliant and also revealing. I should also put *people* I deal with into such a schema, a lot of those I would put in tier 2 have elements of tier 1 (bottom tier).

It is interesting because of the spatial organization and also the question of what is easy or feels like/is happiness or love, and what seems destructive. Much of what I tend to place in tier 2 actually belongs in bottom tier. And a lot of real tier 2 activity causes me anxiety; I wonder whether that is because I have placed so much tier 1 stuff in tier 2.

Also what first came to mind to put in top tier was something I don't even do at all. It was: "archival research and fieldwork for investigative journalism, interviewing people for same, journalistic writing".

It is very revealing, this schema, and I like it quite a lot

Jonathan said...

it is true. Cleaning and organizing makes me very anxious. I think this chart will make me realize that they make more of #1 activities possible.

Your idea to put people along those tiers is also brilliant. It is trickier, though.

Leslie said...

Tricker, yes. I know I put a lot of bottom tier into tier 2, the required tier, and even try to label it top tier when it is in fact bottom tier. All this is complicated by the existence of the survival mode tier, between 1 and 2. But the schema is *very* clarifying