2022 September 27 Work Life Pleasure Balance

Sep 27, 2022

Hi, Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website by, for, and about Baby Boomers. Thanks for joining me tonight. We're going to revisit how to balance between work, life, and pleasure, something I know a lot of us struggle with because we think we got it right, and then it’s like All we're doing is working. So we'll go through that tonight. So let's get started. So if you like what you hear, I'd really appreciate it if you hit the like button, and if not, please drop me a line as to what you'd like me to cover.


So the past four or five days for me have been just a whirlwind of things to do. It wasn't really clear. It was nothing amazing, nothing horrible, but it just seemed every day was really full, one day after the other. What was amazing is that even though it started off seeming almost insurmountable I just stuck with my plan and everything mostly worked out. What was most interesting to me though, is that it wasn't just the day job, or just the podcast, or just any one thing. It seemed that everything was overloaded. 


I continue to make my way through the Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. I came across this passage that really struck me, and I’m paraphrasing from it - it was written, I think originally, by Derek Sivers - if you feel anything less than that would be amazing, the answer should be no. Saying yes to less is the way out of overload. I started thinking about that. When you say no to something mundane, it leaves space in your life to say yes to something that's more aligned with your goals, something that you feel is intrinsically amazing and worthwhile to you.


But then it got even a little more interesting, because I recently just added two more evening meetings to my life,  plus I'm doing more at the church, which was also in the evenings, and yet I did not feel more overloaded. That's okay. So what's going on here? Why? Because those activities were aligned with my goals.


That's when I really started to realize that the whole work life balance equation - what really makes things seem endless isn't just the task at hand per se, but it's that you personally lack interest in what you're doing. 


So if your day job is just for the money, it likely isn't that interesting to you. The result is the money, which is good, but the job doesn't draw you in at all. I just read in the Wall Street Journal an interesting editorial ridiculing younger workers for wanting jobs to be satisfying. Honestly, I think the editor had it backwards, and that the older generations had it backwards by placing money first and then ruining their enjoyment of life by working at an unpleasant job.


Probably most of us have worked at uninspiring jobs that paid well because the money was good. Sometimes that's just a necessity, but often it's a warning. From BJ Novak, paraphrasing something he wrote, anytime you're telling yourself, “but I'm making so much money” about a job or situation, it's probably a warning sign that you're doing it for the wrong reasons, or that you shouldn't stay there long.


When we talk to ourselves like that, what we're really trying to do is convince ourselves that what we're doing has a personal value. But our inner self probably really isn't convinced. One of the big goals of the FIRE movement, the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement, isn't necessarily to stop working, but rather to be able to choose a job based upon desire and fulfillment, rather than necessity.


So back to the work-life-pleasure balance. By now, it should be starting to become clear that it's only partially based upon how much time it takes. Just as importantly is how valuable you personally find the work. I can remember even recently working for hours on an interesting problem, or learning about or discovering something interesting, and hardly noticing the time pass by.


I can also remember having a simple but uninspiring task seemingly take hours, but in reality, they only lasted a half hour, sometimes even shorter. The difference wasn't the actual time, but really how much perceived benefit I was getting from the time I was investing.


Another quote from Peter Diamandis from Peter's Laws: “The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.” If you do many interesting things, you'll find that life moves simultaneously, both quickly and slowly. Quickly, because you don't notice long periods of time pass by because you're really into what you're doing,  but actually it also moves slowly, because at the end, each day has just been filled with interesting things and memories that you like to think back on, and your days seem really full. 


Back to the topic of the day. What about the work life pleasure balance? Clearly we can change the balance, but what we do, as much or more as to how many hours we work, ideally we can find interesting work that also pays well and helps us along in every single way.


We have to be careful even whenever we start to trade job satisfaction for money. I've worked in some very bad physical environments, and they were actually some of the most rewarding and interesting jobs I've been at. And some rather high paying jobs that were just completely draining. 


So back to our goals and aspirations. Remember, we often talk about living towards our goals. Many people who talk and advise you to take the highest paying job, like the one I just said, no, it was completely draining, but it paid really. People advise you to do that because most of society actually, they say that, it's common knowledge the more money equals more happiness.


While that's true to some degree, it really doesn't carry on forever. Being poor obviously usually isn't fun, and it's much nicer to be able to live comfortably. But the change from comfortable to wealthy to very rich, I'm guessing, isn't really quite as linear as one might think. You generally have to start to pay more in terms of free time, priorities, stress, relationships, all the other really important things that go on in life.


So to achieve true balance, you really have to know what's most important to you and to those around you first, before you can start trying to maximize your own life satisfaction. As always, it all begins with goals. From that, you can set your own expectations, and start to live a life that moves you closer to your own definition of a good work life pleasure balance. So that's it for the evening. Hope you enjoyed what we covered. 


Please remember the war in Ukraine is continuing. You'll hear a lot of different things in the news about how it's going well for Ukraine. Remember that well is a relative term. There's still a war. A lot of horrible things are still going on. If you're interested and you're able, the page of donation links is still up at UKR7.com. It just links to other places. Remember, one of the best ways you can care for yourself is to care for others. So if someone's looking for ways they can contribute, or you're interested in contributing, please check it out.


So as always, be true to yourself. Live your life aligned with your true goals and feelings. Thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting and useful, please pass it along, and please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week.


Remember to live the life that you dreamed of because that's the path to true contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute  and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.


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