Before Tim Ferriss authored his first bestselling book (I’m not even going to quote the title, everyone knows what book I’m talking about!), the term ‘Lifestyle Design’ was barely searched for on Google. Even though the concept of designing a lifestyle against the ‘norm’, one that gave it’s exponents the ability to live life on their own terms, was being practiced by a select few, it wasn’t until Tim started promoting and marketing his book online, and it’s subsequent launch, that the term itself became one of the most searched for phrases online.
However, a lot has changed since the release of the book, and the concept of Lifestyle Design isn’t so foreign to the masses anymore. Its mainstream. It’s ‘out there’ and there are hundreds of blogs you can read that give you all the info you need to start designing your own dream life.
What actually is Lifestyle Design, anyway..?
Lifestyle Design is fundamentally working towards designing a life that is against the norm. Its about sticking it to ‘the man’, being your boss, and living life on your terms.
This can mean different things for different people, of course. But, ultimately, I strongly believe that the most important factor of designing your dream lifestyle is to be your own boss, first and foremost. Some might disagree with this, and thats okay – it’s just my opinion, I’m sure you have yours.
The reason behind this is that by becoming your own boss you are the master of your own universe. You call the shots. You make the decisions. Worked 14 hours today, been crazy productive and want to take a day off tomorrow to spend more time relaxing and decompressing – do it. Want to travel to the other side of the country to spend more time with your number one client – do it. And all on your own terms, and at the speed that makes you happy.
New Rule #1 – What if you have lots of employees..? Delegate.
Fast forward. Let’s say you have your own business, and it’s got to the point where you have several people ( or several hundred people, like myself!) working for you. The idea of leaving the office, and becoming a mobile entrepreneur might scare the crap out of you. But, that’s what Lifestyle design is all about.
The first step to freeing yourself of the responsibility of not having to ‘be there’ all the time for your staff is to start delegating. Fast. The more delegating you do, the less ‘work’ you’ll be doing, and more strategizing, marketing and planning you’re going to be able to focus on. Which is exactly what every business owner should be working on… Not packaging the orders to customers. And certainly not answering the phone, sending invoices to clients, or other admin related tasks.
You’ll find that the more you delegate to your staff, the better they will become at what they’re doing for you, and the more they will enjoy their jobs because of it. People get bored, and stagnant in their roles as employees. Mix things up a little, and give them some more responsibility. The act of delegation alone plays a big role in the design of your overall preferred lifestyle.
And if employees put up resistance, and prefer for you to not delegate task to them, replace them ASAP. These types of employees will bring your business down eventually, not help you grow it.
New Rule #2 – What if you have kids…? Plan.
Having children is probably the best feeling in the world. For me, it doesn’t get any better than being woken up in the morning to the word… ‘Daddy!’.
Some parents that practice their own lifestyle design concepts will travel seamlessly around the world, home schooling their kids. If that works for them, then that’s great. For me, however, because of my other responsibilities, both personal and business related, that is not a possibility. And I’m not the only one in that boat, too.
The fact is that you can still design an awesome lifestyle with kids in tow. First things first, the kids should always be the most important factor in your lifestyle design equation. If you don’t agree with me on that one, as a fellow parent, I’d prefer it if you go read another blog. Seriously.
The great thing about being a kid is the school holidays. They are huge, compared to what they used to be! And by being a self employed parent you can enjoy those holidays and the immanent travel that comes with them. All schools will give you a calendar at the beginning of the school year, listing all the holiday dates. So, start planning your travel and trips immediately.
Book your flights and hotels/resorts early, and then start planning what the mice will be doing in the office (see New Rule #1, above!), when the cat is away on vacation, living the lifestyle he/she is designing for their family.
New Rule #3 – Laptops on Beaches is soooo yesterday! Get Mobile.
Right, first up… I’ve never been able to figure this one out. Who wants to actually WORK on a beach in the first place…? Seriously! Firstly, going to the beach is supposed to get you away from the office and work, and computers, so you can de-stress and switch off. Secondly, getting sand inside your laptop isn’t ideal..!
But, seriously… The idea of working on the beach is very much the ‘yesteryear’ of lifestyle design. That’s your down time. That’s your rebooting time. Use it properly.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t escape to a beach resort, or go stay at a beach location, or apartment for a period of time, and work whilst you’re there. It simply means – leave your laptop in your room whilst enjoying yourself on the beach!
Last year, I spent a whole week at a beach resort in amazing Boracay. I worked an average of 5 hours a day, inside my air-conditioned apartment, shot a great series of VA video tips and enjoyed the rest of my time with my wife, as we decompressed, relaxed, enjoyed happy hour cocktails, and generally created lots of fond memories.
I conversed with my management team via Skype and email, and things flowed nicely. Not only this, but the entire time I was away, I was speaking with clients consistently and none of them figured out I was not in the office. Now, THAT is what I call the Virtual Business Lifestyle!
The new rules of lifestyle design are not black and white. They are not for everyone. Some of you might agree with these rules, some might not. The most important thing is that you recognize that the concept of designing a life that you and your family will really enjoy and appreciate living, is ‘out there’ for you all to discover.
I have, and continue to. And you can, too.
Some of you might have your OWN new rules of lifestyle design, and I would love to hear them from you. Please feel free to comment below, at will, so we can ALL learn from each other on our relentless journey’s to creating lifestyles we love to live!