On a recent birthday, I shared some raw honesty — I think I am at best exactly at the halfway point of my life, if not beyond it. Meaning… I truly don’t believe I will get past 84 years of age. But the time is right now to change all of that. I’ll share with you some of the how and why.
I decided to spend the entire birthday mostly off social media, especially Facebook, even though I am huge extrovert and a social beast by nature. It was hard, because ironically I spent much of this ‘special’ day alone. I had a birthday party last night so all is good. However, I remember that last year I had the same problem, where I spent almost the entire birthday alone. My wife was at work, the kids were at school/daycare and then that evening I had to go teach a class. Ultimately, it made me realize that I tend to spend too much time on social networks to feed my affection for connection.
I recently started a journey called #FitInMyLife, as a means to do more things that are healthy and fit in my life. This was prompted by a very personal and brutally honest post I did on Facebook called “WTF is Wrong with Me?”
I started really turning my life around with the healthy eating and fitness plan. I got a personal trainer, worked out 3 times a week, starting doing more cooking every night and shopping for more food a few times per week. Most recently, I started doing Hot Yoga twice a week. The results have been great and my mind is slowly shifting in the right direction. Now I believe I can and will get past 84 years of age. Yet this is also not the point of my post.
You see, #FitInMyLife became more than just health. As I spent almost an extra 10 hours a week doing this, I was losing time and energy on all the other things I was used to doing. I reflected on how precious our time is. I realized there were so many things I wanted to #FitInMyLife – family time, friends, travel, culture, business, career, etc. I’ve been hustling all my life to fit all these things and for the most part, I am tired of hustling for life. I want to start hustling for a life.
Leadership for me these days is about learning, evolving, growing and changing for the better to make positive impact on myself, others and the world. But it starts with me. I have spent 40+ years learning. I am a “learn by doing” type of a learner. Now I want to take my life to the next level. A big part of this journey is focus and eliminating activities that do not help you achieve your vision (a la 4-hour workweek). Here are some things I have observed to help you Hustle For A Life.
1) Create business systems that generate revenue while you sleep
I thought I had solved my biggest problem when I left the corporate world. I was like okay no more ‘working for the man, because now I am the man’. The attitude was based on the idea that maybe I shouldn’t spend my life hustling for another company, making them millions of dollars while I work long, crazy-ass hours, stressed and giving up on the things I truly value in my life.
“… and it’s not about money and popularity. Although, some money would be nice.” – Jeff Bebe, Almost Famous
I spent almost a decade exchanging my work, sweat and expertise for pay, benefits and ‘security’. Nevertheless, I knew that the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying had nothing to do with my title nor how successful I was for a company. Thus, I became an entrepreneur with the idea that the world was my oyster; I could grow my business beyond anything the corporate world could pay me.
Big problem….I am still exchanging time, sweat and expertise for pay and entrepreneurial benefits (like freedom, flexibility and control). I am still hustling for the next keynote, the next workshop, the next gig. While I am proud of some of the successes I have had, after 7 years, I am getting tired of this kind of hustle.
When my new GMAT book finally came out, I realized that the crazy amount of work I put into it – about 5 months and 1000+ hours, that I often regretted or doubted – was actually going to pay off WAY more than I realized. Aside from promoting my book from time to time, it was actually going to earn revenue for me in the next 3-5 years. Then the next book ‘revision’ would require less time and this would also continue to earn revenue while I sleep for more years to come.
So….THE BEST way to Hustle For A Life is to create business systems that generate money while you sleep. There are many ways to do this, the GMAT book being the best example. But even better, anyone can do this! Why? How? Because we all have expertise, experience and stories, we all have supporting connections and we all have desire to live the life that we truly want. So isn’t it worth it to invest in this type of endeavour? Isn’t the life you want to live worth investing in now? If not you, then who? If not now, then when?
2) Reduce the amount of TV you watch
I grew up as a TV junkie. That is why I know every theme song to TV shows from the 70’s, 80’s and some 90’s. I watch about 20-30 hours of TV per week. Even when I started my career, after dinner, it was my way to relax. But did I really need to watch from 7pm to midnight?! Even now on Social Media, everyone is talking about that latest episode of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Bachelor, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and heck even the Kardashians. I get it, TV shows are fun, many of them are even high quality and sure don’t you deserve a break? We all do, which is why I do watch TV via my PVR – shows like The Daily Show or Big Bang Theory, etc. I also referenced TV in our older post called “5 Ways to Waste Your Summer.” However, let us look at the numbers. If you watch 20 hours of TV per week on average, over 10 years that works out to 10,400 hours or 433.3 DAYS. If you cut your TV amount by half, you will gain 217 DAYS (that’s 24 hour days) of your life in the next 10 years. We’re not talking your whole life just the next 10 years. What can you do with all that extra time? See point #1. If you hustle for a life, then you can go back to watching whatever you want as much as you want.
3) Consider reducing the Cancer of Commuting
So many of my friends commute. They come home tired, they are stressed during the commute, and they resolve doing it because of the trade-off for a something like a nice house. I get the need and value of a nice house and a big yard. However, think about the numbers again. If you commute daily around 45 minutes (some do much longer) each way, over 10 years you will spend 156.25 DAYS commuting. Again, I reiterate that’s 24-hour days. If you cut that to 15 minutes, you will gain 104.2 DAYS over the next 10 years. If you have my commute of 8 seconds, well then you gain almost 150 days. Aside from reducing stress, lessening havoc on the environment, reducing fatigue too often when you get home, and having time to take on an extra-curricular on a weeknight, what can you do with all that time? See point #1. If you hustle for a life, then you can have the big home and spacious backyard and never have to commute again.
4) Take a Hard Look at Other Time Wasters
Everyone knows that I am one of the biggest culprit with this one, especially these days with Social Media. Back in University, I was called “The Procraster Master” because of my subtle skill of procrastination, which I turned into an art form. I left everything to the last minute. In fact, I was often amazed at what I could get done in such a short period of time when I truly focused. Imagine if I could put that same focus in my daily routine.
The average person spend 22.4 hours per week on Social Media. I am sure my number is much higher, maybe over 30+ hours. If we all can reduce our usage by 10 hours per week, we again gain 217 DAYS in the next 10 years.
The other big time waster is that ‘in-between’ phase of every single task, meeting or plan we have. If I finish a task with 40 minutes before my next meeting, I will likely waste that time. Alternatively, if I have 90 minutes to do something that takes only 70 minutes, I will ‘create space’ and just do it in the 90 minutes. If we log our time during the week, I’m sure we’d find at least 5-10 hours of waste that can be controlled. Let’s say 5 hours and we end up gaining 108 DAYS in the next 10 years. What can you do with all that extra time? See point #1. If you hustle for a life and eliminate waste, you can spend more time doing the things you love.
5) Try Integration (and/or Automation)
I miss my friends. I miss my kids sometimes too. I miss doing fun things. I miss travelling. It’s hard to fit it all in my life. However, we can use integration as a way to do two (or three!) things at once. For example
– Laundry with the kids. We make it a game. The learn responsibility, they have fun, we spend time together and I get it done
– Bath time and grandparents. Grandma and Grandpa live on the west coast. They miss their grandkids and we miss talking with them. But the kids need to have a bath, so we bring the iPad and Skype all together. It’s funny, enjoyable and most of the time it works. On days it doesn’t, we spend dinner talking with them like a family around the table.
– Lunch gatherings. Every time I go to Vancouver, I have an open lunch to invite my contacts to connect. It’s a great way to see 5-10 (or more!) different people all within a few hours.
– Baby-paloozas. Instead of going to the play-land or the beach with one set of parent friends and their kids, why not invite a few sets? Last summer we went camping with 4 families and it was a great way to spend time together, catch-up, and bond with more than one family.
– Travel together. We went out east and got grandparents to join us. I once went to Cuba and coordinated with friends to come along.
There are so many more ways to integrate. You can also automate your business and work by outsourcing, such as housekeeping, accounting, assistants, etc. But that only works if you have the money. Overall, integration probably saves another 4 hours per week. That’s a gain of 87 DAYS over the next 10 years. What can you do with all that extra time? See point #1. If you hustle for a life and integrate, you can spend more time with your kids, family, friends and travelling. You can also have more money to pay for automation.
“Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.” ~Margaret Fuller
So where does this leave us? If you add it all up, we can create 733 DAYS — that’s 24-hour days people — in our next 10 years. That’s 2 YEARS of time in the next 10. What can you do with all that extra time? Here’s an idea: Create business systems that generate revenue while you sleep! So invest the time that’s worth investing and live the life you dream of. You can hustle FOR A life instead of hustling for life. Otherwise you might just hustle yourself out of a life.