(I’m writing something every day for #100days. This is post 3/100.)
If you were living an excellent life, how would you spend your time?
This question is simpler and easier to answer than you think.
Take a stack of post-its and a pen, and start writing your answers, one post-it at a time.
It may feel like a limitless task, but you’ll find that once you’re at 30–40 post-its — each containing something you’d see as necessary to living your excellent life — you’ll start to run out of things that make the cut.
What’s great about this exercise is that clear distinctions will emerge.
You’ll be forced to judge the things you do now against the frame of your excellent life. Suddenly, it’s not just enough to do the things you do. They need to be justified against a high goal, a loftier ambition.
You’ll start to see the little things more clearly.
Are they really important? Are they really necessary for living an excellent life?
As you go through this process, categories will emerge.
There’ll be the threshold categories — for me those were: Julia, my family, my health, and my work. Without these things, like the nucleus of a cell, all else is obsolete.
And then there’ll be everything else. For me, these are things like writing, reading, being social, and mentoring.
Each of your categories will be made up of a list of items specific to you.
For example, when it comes to being social, having friends over for dinner was the thing that made my list. That’s my favorite environment and the best context for interacting with friends. There are a million ways to be social, but when I thought about it in the context of an excellent life, I was able to define the social experience that meant the most to me.
Your Excellent Life
At the end of the exercise, you’ll end up with a list. 30, 50, 70 items long.
Whatever your list looks like, it’ll be yours. You don’t need to share it. You don’t need to run it by anyone. You just need to make it real.
The list you generate will be something to come back to and revisit. Something to amend as you evolve.
It will become a concrete reminder, when things get overwhelming or confusing, about what your excellent life should contain.
It’ll help you re-focus, re-prioritise, and justify when to say no.
There’s always something to be doing. Always someone or something demanding your time. The question is whether it’s the right one or the right thing.
The excellent life list isn’t just theoretical, it’s a guide, a pathway.
And until you take the time to lay it out, to define it, you just won’t know.
What would living an excellent life look like for you?