I briefly touched on the idea of lifestyle design. What does this mean precisely?
The term ‘lifestyle design’ was either coined or popularized by Tim Ferriss in his book The Four Hour Workweek. The idea behind it is simple: you create the lifestyle you want out of your job.
This simply means that you think about the lifestyle you want and then you choose a career/build a business to support that.
For most of us, this works in the entirely opposite way. Most of us will find ourselves ‘landing in a job’ and from there we then see the rest of our lifestyles forming around that. We get a job and right away that dictates where we are going to live, so we normally move to that area.
At the same time, it tells us which hours we are going to work and depending on how far away we live, this will also have to include some time for a commute.
Some people will move away from their friends and family so that they can work the job they have or will even breakup relationships that were otherwise going well – all because of their jobs! And don’t get it confused: these aren’t jobs that they’ve always wanted. These aren’t ‘dream careers’ that they have been thinking about since a young age.
No, these are jobs that they ‘just kind of landed in’ and are now too afraid to leave. And they’re completely dictating their lives.
So how does lifestyle design work in principle?
You start out by asking:
“What type of life do I want?”
And from there, you then ask: what type of job would best facilitate that lifestyle?
If you want to spend more time with family, if you want to work while travelling the world, if you want to have a career that you find fascinating and that you’re proud of… then often the first step to achieving the right lifestyle will be starting to work for yourself and online/from home.
Next you have to ask whether you want to be a busy ‘high flier’ or whether you’d be happier as someone whose career was ‘light’, flexible and would largely run itself a lot of the time. This is an important point. Many people make the mistake of thinking they want to be ‘really successful’ in the most stereotypical of senses and as such they create business plans that involve
taking on large numbers of staff with branches all over the world. The reality of being involved in this type of business though is that you now have no time to do things that contribute to a happy and healthy life. Likewise, you now are just as stressed and as tied down – if not more so – than you would have been if you were working for a big organization in an office.
If you want to be a high profile businessman/woman then that’s great. If not, then you need to rethink your business plan. If you want to take it even further in the other direction and live the most relaxed lifestyle possible, then ideally you want some kind of passive income – meaning that you generate money while you sleep. This might mean selling a digital product or it might mean hiring a manager to run the day-to-day elements of your business. Either way, a business that ‘runs itself’ allows you to live the life you want and to reap the rewards for your hard work later on.
Digital Nomad? Or Digital Homebody
Perhaps one of the ultimate expressions of lifestyle design is to become a digital nomad. In fact, to many people these two terms are synonymous and interchangeable.
A digital nomad essentially is someone who works online so that they are not dependent on a physical location for their career and income. They then are free to go ahead with their lifestyle design but rather than just being content to spend more time at home, they aim bigger and travel the world.
The archetypal image of the digital nomad is someone sitting by a huge waterfall in the middle of nowhere, typing on their laptop. Or perhaps it’s of someone sitting on the beach, sipping cocktails and firing off e-mails to their clients.
This is of course highly appealing for many of us and is certainly a way of living that is more ‘free’ than what most of us are used to. This way, you can see the world, meet new people and take each day as it comes – never knowing where you’re going to end up.
That’s an exciting prospect and certainly it can lead to a healthy attitude to life (and tan for that matter) for many of us. However, it also certainly is not for everyone.
Why? Because for starters, you’ll be travelling with just a backpack and you’ll never get the chance to have a proper bath and to change into fresh clothes that you washed with fabric softener. Likewise, if you’re partial to a cup of tea/coffee with milk… good luck getting it.