Life is not a system, so stop trying to make it one

Life is not an algorithm. If you Google “life”, you will not get back a packet of character building experiences to be unwrapped and consumed.

But surely there is a checklist, or a system.

Should you work harder? Longer? Smarter?

The number of hours matters. The number of productive hours anyways.

And you need to know your goals. What are you prioritizing — and what are you de-prioritizing.

A yes is a no to something.

I live a pretty average life. When I stretch — when I work to midnight after the kids are in bed, or at 5am on a Saturday before they wake-up, its hard. For sure. That’s me. I’m just an average person. I don’t have super work muscles.

I’ve learned to think about tomorrow. If there is something I want time to do tomorrow, then I lay the groundwork today. Tomorrow is built on today, and yesterday, and last year.

This way I avoid regret. I don’t wake up thinking I should have. Fact is, I did or I didn’t.

I don’t get bent out of shape when I don’t wake up at 5am on a Saturday. And I don’t complain when, Monday morning, I’m not ready for the day. Because I know what my choice was.

I envy people who can scale this idea of banking hours today for the future. I still suck at it. I can plan today for tomorrow, but next month? Me, I haven’t really figured it out.

I quit drinking completely for a while. I thought I would be more productive. For a while I was. But then the summer arrived and I sat out in the back yard and had a beer once in a while in the evening and enjoyed it. I started to unwind. I realized I was burning out. I needed to get a little fun back.

Balance is likely an overused word. So is system, and routine. Balancing life and work, finding your priorities, managing your time, taking care of yourself and your loved ones… that’s not a system, it’s a lifestyle. It’s a way of being that propels you — so you prepare, you act, you do, and you appreciate.

You do you.

You don’t do life checking off the boxes. Painting by the numbers. Living by someone else’s laundry list.

Because life is not a system. So stop trying to make it one

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