What are the broad areas of your life that you put effort into?
November 4, 2010 6:30 AM   Subscribe

What are the broad areas of your life that you put effort into? Mine used to be binary: either Work or Party. It's only more recently that I'm beginning to see that my life gets better when I put time and effort towards my improving my health, keeping my house tidy, or keeping my finances in order.

I know it sounds preposterous, but I'm really used to just working really hard, then partying really hard, and not much else. Now that I've been dumbfounded by the obvious value in maintaining my health or tidying up after myself, I really have no idea if I'm neglecting other key areas that everyone else knows about.

The old phrase: Healthy, Wealthy and Wise seems pretty useful, but surely it's not meant to be comprehensive.

Are there good books or resources on this? Have any of you guys been through a time of sorting out one's priorities? Or does anyone have a rough system, or rule of thumb, they find useful?

Thank you.
posted by surenoproblem to Education (13 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Make some room for wonderful: seek out things that you find beautiful, joyous, awesome, and so on. And then spend time appreciating them.
posted by Ahab at 6:42 AM on November 4, 2010

Learning new things. Podcasts, online courses and reading for knowledge is makes lifelong learning easy, and it's very sastifying. And trivia night at the bar is a lot more fun when you can win 60% of the time.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:50 AM on November 4, 2010

There's kind of tiers of importance. First, marriage and kids. Second, house maintenance and job. Third, community involvement: taking my kids to Scouts, chatting with my neighbors, going to church. Last, personal enjoyment, like taking pictures (so that I am constantly lpaying attention to and appreciating my surroundings).

Kinda like Maslow's heirarchy of needs.

I find that I put myself last a lot, but I am OK with it since I am doing so mindfully. *shrug*
posted by wenestvedt at 6:56 AM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

I can't really relate, because there has never been a time in my life when I haven't been working on at least 2 or 3 personal projects that were not work related in the slightest. Work is what I have to do to pay the bills, and the rest of my time is MY time. If I want to have anything to show for my life besides my job (which, I don't know what you do for a living, but hopefully it's more fulfilling than what I do) then it's up to me alone to make that happen.

Do I have fun too? All the time. But I can't enjoy myself if I know I'm pushing it beyond any reward I've actually earned. "Party" fills in the cracks. The snack should not become the meal.

If you don't know who you are or what you're doing in the times when you're not rocking the binary, then you are just beginning to step out the door into your own life. Discover who you are and what you want. You might really surprise yourself.
posted by hermitosis at 7:10 AM on November 4, 2010

What you will discover once you discover the various areas of your life and start to become more aware of is that there are a lot more than you imagined. Depending on your life and work needs, there's quite a bit of work that you may want done in different areas and you'll need a system to run it all through unless you want to keep mental lists in your head.

What i discovered in this process is that there are multiple areas, there is family relations with near and distant relations, finances (whether you want to go the daily or weekly route), keeping in touch with facebook folks and distant folks, professional networking
posted by iNfo.Pump at 7:14 AM on November 4, 2010

I used to be all work, then sleep, then worry about work etc. It kinda bombed out health-wise for me, and that put me on the track of, hmmm, this sounds so wanky: self discovery. I found out what I really like doing when it's not about work; and now that is my work. I now do a lot more arty things, creating things like houses and buildings and big artworks. I travel a lot and this, ironically, helps me to appreciate the tiny details of my home life. The dog walks, the quieter nights with friends n a bottle of red, a good conversation, kindness and loveliness in my friends, changes in the seasons, my local environment, the beauty in the everyday.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:27 AM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I try to make running a top priority. The discipline, energy, and stress reduction I get from it carries over into all aspects of my life.
posted by jasondigitized at 8:36 AM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

There is nothing like actually getting old to make one yearn for a time machine, so that one might return to youth and radically re-prioritize health maintenance. (Eating right, getting regular exercise, using sunscreen, flossing one's goddamned teeth...)

Since it sounds like you are not yet old, another way to radically re-prioritize might be to spend some quality time with old people who did not engage in health maintenance (e.g., visiting the frail elderly in a nursing home).
posted by Kat Allison at 8:44 AM on November 4, 2010

In no particular order:
Current job
Future career
Basic living (cleanliness, eating right, day-to-days)
Relationships (family & friends)
Fun (lots of crossover with relationships, but also includes events and alone time)
Absorbing (reading things to learn, and reading Internet garbage because it's fun)

I imagine I'll add a few categories as I go along, and that some of he above categories will be divided up as I progress (e.g., family & friends are easy to mingle now, but when kids come along I imagine 'family' will take on a whole new meaning).
posted by Tehhund at 8:55 AM on November 4, 2010



Intimate (both close friends and romantic partners)
Superficial (parties)
Growth (new environments, groups, and situations)
Following Up (say hello on FB, make time to go to lunch, make a phone call)

CAREER (long-term)
Education for career
Joining a professional organization
Gaining a certification

Little projects
Browsing AskMeFi
Getting good/knowledgeable at something that has NOTHING to do with work

Car maintenance

I've also been learning how to plan. And then how to execute what I plan. I'm very spontaneous, but I find that that's tougher in the adult world, especially if you'd like others to join you on your adventures,
posted by jander03 at 8:57 AM on November 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

When I went through my first big experience of grief, a friend advised me that the best way to get through it was to just take it one day at a time and do whatever I had to do to make each day as pleasant as possible. And so, in the worst time of my life, I kind of learned to be happy, and now, I try to be conscious of fitting as much joy into each day as I can. I still meet my responsibilities, but I make sure I eat something delicious, or visit a friend after work, or buy myself flowers etc... Try to squeeze in as much nice stuff as possible. You know how people always watch the sunset on holidays? It happens every freaking day and it's beautiful! Making time for that sort of thing has been a real blessing.
posted by Chrysalis at 10:15 AM on November 4, 2010

Keep healthy enough to do all those enjoyable things that are bad for your health. This has been my approach to life for something like 35 years. I'm still here, and still happy.

Never, ever, be a stiff. About anything.
posted by Decani at 2:44 PM on November 4, 2010

Cooking! A few years back I started buying strange vegetables at the Asian and outdoor markets whenever I saw an ingrediant I hadn't used before. At least once a trip I'd grab something simply because I'd never had it and it was available. Burdock, tamarind, tomatillos, durian, etc., etc., etc. I'd do a quick search on how to cook it and give it a whirl. There were definitely hits and misses, but I learned a kind of sense of adventure and lack of fear of failure that my cooking had previously been missing. Having little idea what to expect, my primary motivation was exploration. It's been great. You never run out of things to try and it makes dinner into an awesome mini-adventure.
posted by troublewithwolves at 9:55 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

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