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The Secret to a Better Quality (and Quantity) Life

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The Happiness of Pursuit Podcast – Episode #85

I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. – Steve Jobs

What is a better quality life to you? More time with loved ones, more time to do the things you love, or both?

The bottom line, is we all want more time (quantity) to do the things we love with the people we love (quality).

The challenge, so few of us make the time to do those things.

Take this past weekend for example, what did you waste time on? Did you spend the weekend doing spring cleaning, mowing the lawn, or even worse, doing your taxes?

I have so much that I want to do. I hate wasting time. – Stephen King

If you did manage to spend it doing what you loved, did you feel overwhelmed when you got back home that there was a mountain of “to-do’s” that had been neglected?

Here is a really simple question I want to ask you (answer it honestly…)

How much time did you waste doing the things you hated doing this weekend, and what would you have rather been doing (write down the answer in the comments below).

Now, before I explain why that is important I want to share a little story with you…

A little over three years ago, my wife and I were blessed with our firs child, and a quick 18 months later our second. To say life was hectic would be an understatement.

Like most parents with young kids, our days were somewhat the same: early morning wake-ups, preparing meals, cleaning dishes, rushing out the door for work, only to rush home to get dinner ready, do some more dishes, baths, and bedtime. We would relax for an hour or so watching Suits, House of Cards, or Homeland (which is so addictive) while catching up on some work we missed trying to get home for dinner…

Sound familiar???

So when the weekends arrived, the last thing we wanted to do was clean our house. We wanted to do something fun, but the guilt of all the “stuff we had to do” would hang over us.

While we couldn’t really afford it – we decided to hire a cleaning service. This meant we would get back at least half a day on our weekends.

So back to my original point. What’s more important to you, a quality life, or quantity? This little investment in a cleaning service gave us both the quantity and quality time we needed!

I can imagine at this point, you’re probably having the exact same reluctance we had when it came to hiring someone to clean our house and many of you would probably argue that it is a huge waste of money.

Well here’s some simple math to consider…

The big problem too many of us have, is we have little to no respect for our time.

If you make $50,000/year, that is roughly equivalent to $25/hour. If it takes you 4 hours to clean your home top to bottom and you do it twice a month, it is, in fact, costing you $200/month (and for those who have kids know that it takes twice or three times as long to do anything).

I can tell you first hand that there are thousands, if not millions of ways to make an extra $100, $10,000 and event $100,000 per year on the side that will allow you to afford to live not only a better quality life but one with more quantity of the things you enjoy.

Here are 5 things you could do today to improve your quality (and quantity) of life:

1. Stop hoarding, start selling

How long are you going to hold on to your PS2, PS3, and XBox? The baby toys? Most importantly that collection of old phones? If you are looking for a cleaning service or a lawn care company, in most places you are looking for $150-400 per month depending on your home.

If you can find a way to sell $1,200 – $2,000 of junk, you’re more than halfway to buying back your quality and quantity of life.

2. Ask for a raise

For most people, talking about money, let alone asking for it, is one of their biggest fears. Think about ways you can provide more value to your employer. Make a proposal that you would like to do “X”, and in exchange for doing so you would like “$Y”. If your employer agrees, simply over deliver. Ramit Sethi has an awesome guide, where he breaks this entire process down, click here for the details:

[Related: Ramit Sethi’s Ultimate Guide to Asking For A Raise]

3. Cut wasteful spending

I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking Starbucks, that will be short-lived.  Consider the wasteful spending like the gym membership you signed up for 6 months ago and have been to twice. Take a close look at your credit card statement (especially from iTunes) – are there recurring membership charges from “trials” that renewed. Are you actually using your Amazon Prime membership? There are countless ways to curb your spending, but be realistic when making cuts. Find the things you do not actually use or enjoy, not the things like Starbucks and going out for lunch.

4. Barter

We all have a unique skill that we can exchange with someone. Find someone who values that service and exchange quid pro quo. For example, if you are a web designer, but hate yard work. Find a local lawn maintenance company and exchange your services.

5. Start a side business doing what you love

Just like bartering, everyone reading this has some unique skill they can share and charge for. I have interviewed 75+ people who all have built unique businesses or raised significant amounts of money by combining their passion and taking action. Below is a quick graphic summarizing one of my favorite visuals for finding your “Ikigai” (your ideal business). Once you have found that, you can reach out to your friends and family to ask how you can help. It may be as simple as helping tutor the kids of friends and family members on math, or English? If you want to do some freelancing work, you can use websites like UpWork of Fiverr.

I want to be clear, and this is the reason I left this as the last point. I do not suggest this option as a means to buy back your time as something that is simple. It takes a conscious effort to build a business, however, if your goal is to make an additional $1,250 – $1,500 you will have a lot more fun making money on the side doing what you love, to afford the better quality life, than undervaluing yourself and doing the chores you hate.

Source: https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikigai

 

 

TL;DR – Here are the shortcuts to creating a better quality life:

Start valuing your time, and what it is worth. Here are 5 Things you can do to create a better quality and quantity of life:

  1. Sell your junk – use craigslist, eBay, Kijiji, or a Garage Sale – you’re goal is between $1,000 – $1,500
  2. Ask for a raise – find out how you can provide more value, over deliver, and ask for fair compensation
  3. Cut wasteful spending – get rid of unused memberships (like the gym you haven’t seen in 6 months)
  4. Barter – how can you exchange services to do more of what your life, in exchange for what you don’t (i.e. if you like woodwork, could you help someone build a deck?)
  5. Start a side business doing what you love – there are limitless opportunities to offer your own unique value to make an extra $100-200/month (tutoring, web design, photoshop, baking, etc.)

 

What’s next in creating a better quality life?

One of my favorite questions to ask guests, from billionaires to entrepreneurs just getting started is

“Do you remember the first dollar you made as an entrepreneur?”

Action Step: Write down the thing you wasted time on this weekend (or something you hate doing on a regular basis). Immediately below that, write down what you would have rather been doing.

Once you the two choices besides one another, you can make a clear choice on what you do next.

Do you invest in building a better quality of life, or do you continue to undervalue your time?

I hope this inspires your journey to earn your first dollar and being to build the life you want. Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

If you need help on coming up with an idea, or figuring out which part of your life to outsource first, leave it below.

Doug Foley
Doug Foley is a podcast host, content marketer, and problem solver. He is also the youngest of 7 brothers and sisters, a proud father of 2, and is on a mission to help people find their passion, take action, and build the life they want to live. He frequently writes about entrepreneurship, personal development, and motivation.
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