14562 days ago
In todays world, it’s all about efficiency, which is great right? We all enjoy using our smart phones to set reminders, appointments, and send an email all while in the middle of a lunch. We love our technology so much that many of us, including myself, can sometimes find ourselves surrounded by a least a few devices. Such as watching TV, skyping with someone on an iPad, and texting a few people on a smartphone.
Multitasking at work, at home, and even during our rest and relaxation time has become the norm. I have witnessed countless times parents pushing a child on a swing while in a deep trance reading something on their smartphone. And this is where being efficient probably crosses the line and loses its value.
My wife and I sit on our couch every night with a glass of wine and occasionally we fall into the trap of searching around for things on our phones or iPad while speaking with each other. For me, I just love scrolling through financial news, looking for interesting stories or commentary by my favorite investors. My wife, she’s usually scrolling around on Facebook or looking for vacations on Interval International.
As much as I would like to think that I am always striving to live an enriched life, I have to admit, the feeling of efficiency can take over sometimes.
It’s hard to just sit down and relax. I feel like I should be reading a book or listening to a podcast or something, especially if its in the middle of the day Monday through Thursday.
Living an enriched life is living an efficient life, however its also avoiding an endless amount of efficiency or busyness. Especially the kind of busyness that is a result of us not being able to sit still.
Just as we have to choose our destiny daily, we also have to choose to live an enriched life every day.
Here are some tips that have helped me live an enriched life…
1. Leaving my cell phone in a drawer once I am done writing for the day. Avoid having my cell phone around while in a restaurant or when playing with the kids.
2. Reserving some quite time in the evening for just my wife and me.
3. Always stopping to look my children in the eyes whenever they are talking to me. There are days when I am in the middle of thought while writing and my kids come into my home office to tell me something. I always listen, and if I can, I will even participate in a longer conversation with them or try and take a break for some fun.
4. Date nights. Make them a priority and take time to enjoy your meal. My wife and I used to dine out at the Arroyo Chop House in Pasadena often, from the time we sat, to the time we signed the check, was about 1 hour. Clearly, we weren’t experiencing everything this restaurant had to offer. Now when we dine there, its at least a 3 hour meal.
5. Limiting my phone conversations and friendships outside of the family. Look I am sorry, but I have a wife, 5 year old, 3 year old, and a 6 month old. I don’t have time to talk on the phone or do hobbies that the kids can’t participate in, this is just the life I’ve chosen. I am all in with my kids, so in order to enrich my life with them, I’ve limited activities and friendships that don’t involve my children.
6. Vacations, weekenders and extended trips. Take as much time as you can to relax and learn with your loved ones.
7. Do nothing, Saturday or Sunday often get crowded out with to-dos, don’t let that happen. Try and reserve 1 day a week for just nothing. Wake up, lounge around, go for a hike, whatever you want, just make sure nothing is planned.
8. Sleep. I go to bed around 10pm and wake up around 7:30am every day, if I can I try and go to bed even earlier. Occasionally my family also takes naps during the week, rest feels great!
9. Eat well. Good food brings me to a very happy place. Drinking good coffee in the morning with my wife, cooking salmon over cedar planks in the evening, and helping my wife prepare a meal in the kitchen, are all part of eating well. Smelling the food, eating it slowly, and sitting around the table for conversation. A meal is more than just eating for survival; it can be a great experience as well.
10. Say yes…When my wife or children ask me to do something that I don’t want to do, I do my best to say yes. Its not always the case, but I try and just say yes if I can. If the kids and I are driving and they ask to go to the park or stop by a Petsmart, even though I may be tired or just want to go home, I almost always say yes. Afterwards, I feel great, not only did I make them happy, but I got to spend some real quality time with my children doing an activity they love.
Final thought: Realize that you and everyone around you has a block of finite time, so don’t waste it with busyness or mindless activity. When it comes to your children, value every day, because they won’t always be kids. The toddler years are only 5 years, thats a very short time, after that, you only have 7 years before they are young adults.