Spend More Time On What Makes You Happy

It Sounds So Simple

Right?  It’s like “Duh!”.  But if you take the time to look at everything you do during the course of a day, week, month how many of those things can you say actually make you happy?  That’s tougher to answer.  When you take a look at everything you do on a typical day it kind of starts to get depressing.  As mentioned in another post we get into that whole hamster wheel of life thing again.  I work to pay for the things I need like a home, clothes, and food so I can go to work.  To pay for the things I need like food and my son’s baseball and braces for my daughter and my car tires are almost bald and around and around we go.  So let’s be careful not to go too far down that path because it can get to be a real downer real quick.  So let’s start with something easy to get us moving in the right direction to figure out how to spend more time on what makes us happy.

Do A Quick Assessment:

So take a look on what a typical week or month looks like for you.  In my world it’s easiest to think about the Monday – Friday 8AM – 5PM work day then the 6PM – 10PM evening.  That’s 5 days of my week divided into working or personal.  Then I have Saturday and Sunday pretty much all day.  Now I am a married guy with 2 daughters, one that is still at home and one that just started college.  I exercise pretty much daily and try to spend time on a regular basis with my parents and a few friends.  My hobbies consist of art I do when the mood strikes as well as a couple of side projects that I am into, this website included.  So of my 7 day “chunks” of time I spend 5 of them at work in an office.  Of my 7 evening “chunks” of time I typically spend 2-3 of those on something for one of my daughters such as volleyball practices or some other activity.  That leaves me 2 day time “chunks” open and let’s say 4 evening “chunks open.  Okay, now I know how I spend the majority of my time.  You do the same and I’ll meet you back here shortly.

Now Look under the hood

Pretty obvious the first thing we need to look at is our money makers.  Since we spend so much time at work we better like what we do.  If we feel like either of these pics it’s time to look for something else that pays the bills.  Then you need to look at all aspects of your life to see how much you really enjoy them.  If you are in a good marriage or relationship and enjoy being with your spouse or partner then you want to spend more time with that person because it makes you happy.  Now I’ll be the first to admit I don’t always want to be around my daughters.  It’s like I tell them, I don’t always like you but I always love you.  And they can EASILY say the same of me.  But as a father I can safely say that just about any chance I get to spend time with them I will gladly tale.  I do that because it’s important to me that they know I am always there for them and I can be counted on.  And even though our personalities clash and I’ll never know what it’s like to be a teenage girl (Thank Gawd) the fact that I am in their presence makes me happy.  My wife and I run a fairly good house.  She has her strengths and I have mine and between the two of us we make it work.  More important that though is we typically have fun together.  Now not always of course, but the majority of the time.  And if it gets the point where we don’t have fun MOST of the time on a consistent basis, well then that would have to be evaluated.  This is true of any relationship or of our lives.  Same goes for my hobbies.  I chose them because they make me happy.  Here’s another way to think about it.  If you aren’t having a good time and smiling and looking forward to being somewhere or with someone – it’s not making you happy.

now really look at the people in your life

Okay this is a biggie.  I don’t want to overdo this so I won’t spend much time on it.  For anyone who wants to lead a happy life I feel it’s important to bring up a few quotes that speak directly to this subject.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn

“You are the the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends.  If someone isn’t making you stronger, the’re making you weaker” – Tim Ferris

That being said it’s best to choose wisely WHO you spend your time with.  If you are at a job you don’t really like and your co-workers aren’t fun to be around or your boss sucks then you probably don’t enjoy going there every day.  Or even if you do like your job but don’t like the people you work with that’s not good either.  If you are married to someone who is an pessimistic downer all the time chances are they don’t make you happy.  When you find yourself dreading going home chances are you don’t enjoy the person waiting on the other side of the door when you get there.  If your friends don’t make you laugh on a regular basis when you’re around them it might be time to look for more friends.

Things to consider

Now that you’ve taken a good look at what and who is in your life (and made me do it again……thanks) let me share a few tips and thoughts that might spark some ideas to spend time on what makes you happy.  Here we go!!

Spend your money on experiences instead of things

Spend more time with friends, especially those that make you laugh, challenge you, and call you out on your shit

Do not stay at a job you hate.  Yes, I know you can’t quit tomorrow so start making a long term plan to move to something you do like or try something new

Make sure you schedule TIME for things that do make you happy.  Once again, ahem, Hamster Wheel.

Make your happiness a priority.  Go ahead, it’s okay

Give of yourself.  It’s been proven so many times, giving makes us happier than receiving

Strive to improve yourself.  When we are stretching ourselves, learning, creating, DOING, we tend to be happier

Have fun with the mundane.  Crank the music in your commute and bang your head.  Spray someone with the water the next time you do the dishes.  Drink a beer while you mow the lawn.  Do your housework in an apron and boxers.  Whatever man, just have fun with it.

Let yourself have fun and be happy.  You’ll look back and regret it if you didn’t

Don’t apologize for doing the things that make you happy.  It’s your life, enjoy it

Get rid of the crap in your life that doesn’t add to your happiness.  As the Thing used to say Nuff said!

 

Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on spending time on what makes you happy.

All my best!

Mat A.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Hello Mat,

    I really enjoyed reading your article and couldn’t agree more. Everyone should stop and smell the coffee every once in a while. You only live once as far as we know so you better live your life to the fullest. Paying bills and going to work is a necessity but it’s not your entire life. D o the things you love and your life will be better for it!

    Jack

    1. Hello Jack,

      I really appreciate you taking the time to review my ramblings and share your thoughts.  Great to hear that you agree!  I have to remind myself of that when I am feeling I need to take care of “just one more thing”.  It’s tough to break out of, just like being mindful.

      Thanks again!

  2. Hey, Mat
    Great advice! What you are writing in this post is really sine qua non in life 🙂
    I do believe that no matter the circumstances, one should make time (even a couple of hours per week) for oneself. As you state, this is something that rejuvenates us and helps us deal with anything that happens in our lives.

    1. Hello Marios,

      Really appreciate your thoughts and feedback.  It’s funny, even today I was showing a new guy around work and was walking him through the gym we have at work.  He kind of chuckled about working out during lunch hour and asked me if I did.  And I told him as long as I don’t have a lunch appointment I sure do.  It’s important to take those breaks on things that make us feel energized and alive, no matter what it is.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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