Friends often ask me how it is possible to get everything done that I do. I don't believe in false humility, so I can say that I'm quite satisfied with this partial list of what I've gotten done this year so far:
- I left one job with a company in Boston and two weeks later found a better one with a company Canada. In my first quarter, my measurable sales output was equal to the other 7 individuals on my team combined.
- Wrote and published my book, Love It or Leave It: The End of Government as the Problem
- Gave 16 radio interviews
- Recorded an album
- Lost 20 pounds by changing diet and exercising up to 6 times per week
- Spent 3 weeks visiting my family in Wisconsin with my wife and child
- Went to Greece for a few weeks, visited Budapest for a weekend, and spent a few weekends in the High Tatra mountains in Slovakia.
- Improved my guitar and vocal skills by practicing up to 5 times per week
The larger point is, it is possible to accomplish things like this even if you have a 1-year-old. Furthermore, it is possible to accomplish all of this while spending plenty of time with your family or doing whatever else it is that you value. All of this is possible if you can work from home and do so in a highly effective, efficient way.
Each morning, I get up with my little daughter and spend a few hours with my family as we have breakfast. I see my wife and daughter from time-to-time as I get coffee, take a break, or have a shower after a workout. I see them at lunch, am available most early evenings to have dinner with them, and we manage to get our 1 1/2 year old to bed by 7:00 every night (part of the reason I believe she is so well-adjusted is that she gets plenty of sleep).
I spend almost every night away from my computer with Sofia (we also get a baby-sitter and go out at night once or twice per week). Weekends are spent either going to festivals in the area, visiting Sofia's parents (eating and drinking way too much of course), going on mini-trips, or sometimes just hanging out on the balcony listening to music reading or playing with our daughter.
I'm grateful for this lifestyle I have designed, but I'm not entirely satisfied yet. My goal is to work even less, make even more money, and establish a larger audience for my music and writing. I've been reading the 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. I found out that there is one other person out there who has come to so many of the same conclusions as I have...well, not philosophically, but in terms of how to structure and live your life. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to maximize the potential of their life. Some of what he says and does is a bit crazy and extreme (even for me), but if anyone wants to live a fuller, more successful life then I would certainly recommend this book.
Of course there is no standard, cookie-cutter way for anyone to design a life that is right for you. Your ideal lifestyle is as unique as you are. Your profession and work skills are different from mine (though inside sales is a pretty good profession if you want to escape the office), just as your idea of what you want to do with your days is different from mine (Tim Ferriss mostly likes travel and competition while I like to use my time for creating and searching for truth / meaning). The goal is to cut out all of the crap you don't want to be doing (work) and make time for doing everything you actually want to do.
When I told friends, 5 or 6 years ago, that I only work 2 hours a day (though I had a full-time job), they thought I was lazy, crazy, and that I was sure to get fired. What they didn't know is that, if you do only what actually gets the results, it only takes 2 hours a day and you can perform better than your colleagues! Shed the habits and guilt! When I cut out all of the bullshit that goes on in the office, I found myself far more effective and successful in the same job I had when working in the office (though I had just moved across the world). The trick is to make sure your boss doesn't know your hours, and the only way to do this is to work from home. Better yet: start a business and avoid having to justify yourself to a boss at all. That's next on my list.
I just wanted to share this because I think that anybody's life could be better if they found ways to eliminate the crap or to outsource it to India (I'm only half-joking). Your time is precious, your life is short, your dreams are real and possible. There is so much you can actually accomplish and become in your actual life...in time...with persistence and intelligence.