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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

The Trick to Having the Life You Want Is to Start Purposefully Designing Your Days

When people think of the words “lifestyle design,” images of working from a laptop, location independence, the “four hour workweek,” and digital nomads probably pop into their head. What they don’t think about is the actual work that goes into those accomplishments, all of which are a byproduct of days and environments that have been deliberately designed.

Designing your life starts with designing your days.

Start With One Small Thing

One of the many reasons I write 1,000 words every day is that it gives me a sense of control, progress, and accomplishment. I’m not dependent on anybody else for it to happen. It’s a part of the day that’s deliberate and also gives me one focused hour a day of uninterrupted creation time.

Start with any one of the environments that make up your life:

  • Clean your car
  • Organize your office
  • Optimize your life for deep work by making your smartphone into a dumb phone
  • Update your social profiles to reflect who you want to become, not who you were in your past
  • Take a picture every day

Starting with one small, seemingly inconsequential thing is one of the easiest ways to start a new chapter of your life. The ability to make a commitment and keep it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that creates a ripple effect into other areas of your life.

Design Your Schedule

Between publishing my first book, doing interviews every week, and overseeing other creative projects, my schedule was starting to get a bit chaotic. I found myself in back-to-back interviews and appointments scheduled at times I wished they weren’t.

A while back my business partner Brian said, “I’d love to get this to the point where we can have one month on and one month off. The business would still run, but we could take month long surf or snowboard trips.” We’re not currently at that point, but it made me think about what’s possible right now.

Most of my appointments are booked using Calendly, which allows people to pick from a set of time slots. But I’m the one who determines what those time slots are. Since I’m starting to work on a second book, doing more speaking, and continuing to run Unmistakable Creative, I needed to figure out how to create more time for myself. That’s when I realized that Calendly had a feature called “blackout dates.” So I made every other week unavailable for meetings with anyone. It’s just one of many simple ways you can design your schedule and take advantage of how effective calendars can be.

Again, you can start with one small thing:

  • Design 30 minutes of reading time into your day
  • Design 45 minutes at the gym into your day

It doesn’t really matter what it is. The point is to take deliberate control over some part of your life that is set to default and consistently follow through on a commitment.

Understand the Importance of Consistency

Without consistency, your inner critic will write off your attempt to make change as nothing more than a moment of inspiration and hokey new-age crap. If you’re going to experience significant and lasting change, consistency is an essential ingredient. When you’re consistent about something, your habits become part of your identity.

Start Today

Who you want to become tomorrow starts with who you are today.

  • Most people’s lives are set to default.
  • Most people never change the ring on their iPhone.
  • Most people never question things that can be changed just by their willingness to explore and ask.

Pick something, no matter how small it is, and start today. The easiest way to start designing your life is to start by designing your day.

This article was originally published on Medium. It has been republished here with permission.

Photo of man writing courtesy of Hero Images/Getty Images.