After doing an internal assessment of where I'm current at in life using Maslow's hierarchy of needs I've determined how I should prioritize my personal "Q4."
Treating your life like a business might sound crazy or too extreme to some, but I often find that the structure is helpful and battle tested by hundreds of years of economic research. Not to mention the best part about this process is that you don't have to adhere to the normal rules of business. So as soon as you discover some aspect of this structure is unappealing to you, or undesirable, you can simply change the paradigm and create a new one, or one that morphs over time.
In fact, I'm not measuring anything in this post like a normal business would. All I'm doing is stealing some terminology to make things make sense to me in a way that I can easily digest.
I'm choosing to share these thoughts with you because I believe 1) it will make me more accountable and 2) they are pretty solid, basic things that other people in their 20's might want to consider focusing on (or they already are).
- Extreme focus on diet and exercise
- But exercise in natural ways, not only exercise that take place in nature, like hiking, but simpler exercise like walking. Participate in team sports over individual workouts (again, I include this in my definition of "more natural" since personal fitness is a relatively new phenomena on the human timeline). Knock out 100 pushups a day to keep the chest on point, but other than that, enjoy the camaraderie that comes from engaging in team sports outside of the work place (where losing can be debilitatingly stressful) and instead, remember what it feels like to keep pushing when you're behind by 10, remind yourself about how to lose with grace and shake hands after the game. Practice detaching your emotions from your daily performance. Remember, you win some you lose some.
- Read at least 2 books at a time, all the time
- This leads to click moments (ah-ha moments, moments of inspiration, moments of creativity connected by engaging in self-education that happen outside your normal field of work/study) and furthers personal education that leads to enhanced creativity.
- Listen to podcasts
- Just found a list of the top 20 business podcasts for 2015 that I'm really digging. These are consumed mostly on morning walks and during commutes to work.
- Write at least 3 times a week.
- I had to be realistic about this and give myself a goal that is attainable. I wanted to write everyday but the weekends are really hard to do when I spend time with my son. I want to make sure I'm actually providing some value in the blog posts that I write (not simply adding value to myself by increasing the number of published posts on this blog). 3x a week seems realistic and I look forward to hitting this number consistently, building my confidence as a writer, and also providing some really amazing content about content marketing.
- Have dinner or lunch with an old friend or new acquaintance at least 2x a week.
- This is simply a way to leave room for serendipity in my life. I love catching up with old friends and I love making new ones. But I've also found that I truly enjoy one-on-one meetings. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about the team, but there is a different side to creating an intimate connection with someone that can only be produced by spending some quality time together in a safe space where each person is able to confide in the other or simply express their authentic self as many people tend to change their behavior in group settings.
- Make sure you have an interesting person/activity fund that you budget for. 1-3k a quarter is realistic depending on your income. It's totally fair to say, "I'm going to set aside $1,000 over the next 3 months to say yes to anyone that asks me to dinner. Or "I'm going to spend $1000 over the next 3 months on two trips to San Fran in order to make some new connections in a city where my industry is taking off." And then just do it. Even if you only meet one person per trip, that one person can connect you to their whole network. (Don't forget to invest in yourself).
- Make friends at work.
- This is a no brainer and very simple, straightforward initiative: Be kind, be compassionate, listen, add value, follow the golden rule.
- Learn about FHA loans!
- Now this is more specific, but after moving back to Seattle from Arizona, there is no way I want to dump 12k a year into renting a small 1 bedroom studio in downtown Seattle. I need to crunch the numbers and figure out what I can afford and how I'm going to get it done. This is definitely the most specific goal for Q4, but 1) it's good to have a few specific goals and 2) it's one of the most important things I need to focus on as it's a huge investment that could also set things off in a positive direction for years to come.
What are your Q4 goals? I'd love to know in the comments. They might inspire me to rethink my plans!