What's going to make you happier: more time inside work, or more free time outside work?
Here’s a very simple question for you: if you were to write down the 20 most impactful, powerful, life-changing, enjoyable moments in your life, where did they happen? Did they happen at work, or did they happen outside of work?
This is not an attack on work. I love work! I love being creative, helping people, creating value, and doing things that make the world a better place. I also love making money, and all that good stuff that goes along with it.
But when I recently made a list, I looked back at the list I made of my most important life events. As I went down the list, I thought about where all these things happened, and what type of experiences they were, categorizing them. Were they achievements in sports? Were they work related? Were they romantic? Or to do with friendship?
As I went down the list, I found that as I categorized them, over 80% of my most treasured, important or impactful life experiences happened outside of work.
Once again, I say this not as an indictment against work, but rather to make this point: if you're really looking for meaningful experiences, you're going to find some at work but there's a immense breadth and depth of things going on in the world, and many of those things don't happen at work. They happen in your life outside your job.
When I tell this to some of my friends, they tell me that maybe I just don’t love my job as much as they love theirs. But I tell them that I do love my job – but I love my life outside of it just as much.
I believe there's a God, and I almost think of God looking down and saying, “Wow, you really got that work thing down, and you really put a lot of time in there, but did you realize that I created the rest of the world, and there's all this other cool stuff going on?”
Put it this way: if you’re looking for greater fulfillment, why not look outside of your work? Work is just one area of your life, and there’s so much else going on: friendship, love, helping people, hobbies, and even just relaxing.
Let me tell you about a time this was the case for me. When we first had children, I had this sense that I needed to be a good father and I needed to stay at home. I thought that I shouldn't be playing volleyball, which I love, because a good father provides and focuses on his family and his kids all the time, like helicopter parenting.
So for many years I gave up one of the activities I love most, and which keeps me in the best shape. Not only did I gain 25 to 30 pounds, I was not as happy.
How unhappy I’d been was brought home to me when I started back playing volleyball a few years back. I'd been doing it for a couple of months and was working a 4-Day Work Week, when I had told my wife that I was going to try something different, to make the most of my time. She said, “No way, please, go play your volleyball. It makes you happy. You're so much grumpier when you don't do it.”
So I continued playing volleyball, and I’m so much happier and healthier for it.
That’s what creating a 4-Day Work Week lifestyle is all about: looking for more out of life than just work and money, and making a commitment to getting it.
The good news is, there's a tool that can help you with this goal. It’s called Your Most Important Life Experiences, and you can find it, along with all the other tools you’ll need, at 4dayworkweek.com/tools.
It’s very simple to use: you just write down the most impactful life experiences you've had, and then you categorize them by which part of your life they were in. Were they inside work, or outside it? Were they in your friendship area? In your romance area? In your achievements, sports, socializing areas?
This process of categorizing and reflecting on your experiences will help you to really get a sense of what you’ll be looking for more of in the future. The Your Most Important Life Experiences tool can even give you percentages of where you find the most fulfillment, if you find that helpful.
Rather than just blindly hoping that whatever you're aiming for is going to provide you with more fulfillment and satisfaction, the aim here is to learn from the past. It’s not to reminisce about past experiences and wish you were at that point again, but rather to know what has been guaranteed to give you fulfillment, and working that into your future.
You might find that in fact your work is the thing that gives you the most satisfaction in life. You might find that you're not supposed to work a 4-Day Work Week, and you’ll have a more awesome time continuing to work 40 hours a week, 5 days a week. That’s fine, if it’s what you really love.
Even though I put all this under the umbrella of a 4-Day Work Week lifestyle, it's really about creating a life where you have the time and money freedom to do the things you most enjoy, and to create a more abundant lifestyle. If you have that, it doesn’t really matter how many hours you work.
If you find this post helpful, please make sure to share it with your friends. It's always helpful when you have people who are working towards the same objectives as you are. You'll find that many people will be nervous about it at first, so just show them how awesome it can be to work less.
You'll eventually find that as you're moving towards a goal, having some people that are moving in that direction with you is going to help. You might meet those people in a work-related community, via their comments in the online site or whatever. These are the people that are moving towards the same future that you're looking to create.
As always, I look forward to helping you make more money in less time, doing what you do best.
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