The Art of living more and working less

It has been a truly remarkable summer, with really warm weather and many lovely summer evenings – a summer that has made you crave for more of this lifestyle. But who says that you can’t live in this way all your life? Who decides what is normal here in life?

It’s soon time to return to work for most of us after the summer vacations. My own life has basically been a vacation since I two years ago decided to quit my job. A job that was among the safest you can have, as I worked for the government. There is a general perception that there are no safe kind of employments nowadays and that it’s something that belongs to the past. Then you have probably not tested working for the government as a permanent employee. There are often completely different rules regarding employment protection in this sector.

I haven’t, though, for a second regretted my decision. Already before I made my drastic decision I had come up with a number of conclusions regarding some of the most fundamental things on how I look at the role of work in my life. I came to the following conclusions:

  • I won’t wait until retirement until I start to live the life that I want – every day.
  • Life is too short to work with something you don’t love every day.
  • Life is too short to put 8 hours every day in your life on something you don’t love to do.
  • I don’t want to wait with the small luxuries that life has to offer in the everyday life just in order to get rich in the distant future.
  • I wan’t to live now, while I still have the health.

One of the basic realizations for my decision was that the timing is never going to be perfect for such a decision – to quit your job. You will never have enough money and if you wait for the blessing from your friends and your family, you may have to wait forever. When you make a list over the pros and cons of such a decision, you will probably have an equally long list on both sides. As with every other drastic decisions in life it’s about letting go of the past and the earlier routines in order to be able to focus on the new in life.

Eventually you will thank yourself for your courage. There is always a possibility to return to a safer employment if things don’t work out the way the way you hoped. You shouldn’t take things to seriously either. It can be a good thing to change direction a couple of times in life to get new energy. We are too inclined to believe that what we studied in our 20s is an interest that we should keep for the rest of our life.

To reward ourselves with longer breaks every now and then in life makes us see work and its impact on life from a broader, healthier, view. It makes us realize that work is just a small part of life and not the most important part of the well-being. If so is the case, you should look yourself in the mirror and review the way you spend your time outside of work. Regardless of whether the job is fun or not, it’s always going to get burdensome when you get too much of it.

Of course it feels a bit tough when the salary disappears and you have to get used to living a bit more frugally. Most of the fixed expenses don’t disappear just because of your decision to quit your job. But, if the money is an obstacle, you will find new creative way to provide for yourself. In this regard, most of us are quite remarkable – it’s when we are under pressure that we come up with the most creative solutions to problems.

Another thing that many of us have get rid of is the illusion that a lot of working hours means that you are a good member of the society – and the other way around. Above all, you need to realize that less working hours doesn’t mean that you are lazy. Many are so busy with looking busy that this reasoning is hard to accept. If you get your work done in 4 hours – why should you sit 8 hours of your day at work drinking coffee? This is my definition of waste of the precious time that we have on this planet. Luckily, this is about to change more and more among the younger generations and nowadays there are more and more employers that have introduced 6 hours as the standard for a day at work.

Another positive thing that can be noticed among younger generations is that they no longer are so attached to their jobs. Among many in the previous generations, there has been problems in differentiating the work that they do and the person they are, something that can be a potential problem if they are forced to look for new directions in life if they are sacked or forced out of their jobs of some other reason.

That many listed companies also take advantage of their employees by forcing individuals to manage an increased workload in order to lift the quarterly result has further contributed to my negative view of work as a creator of ones identity. Many younger people, that should be at peak health, show signs of being burned out. Who are thanking them for this effort when it actually happens? Will you get a gold watch from your employer? No, usually you are just replaced by an younger and fresher employee as a thank for long and faithful service.

In other words, you should realize your role in the company and learn to be more critical in evaluating your role. I’m not saying that you should slow down and not do your best for your employee. As with other things in life, the reward comes as a result of goal-oriented, focused and hard work. However, the thing that you should do is to ensure that there is always a balance in your life. If you have a employer that doesn’t accept that this balance is being held, you should definitely find another job.

Most of the books written about “How to get rich” are focused on the formula save and invest. Something that is based on the interest-on-interest formula. It goes without saying that it’s a good thing to have a habit of saving money for the future – let’s say about 10 % of what you earn each month. But this mindset also easily makes us slaves to the money. I have friends that never could allow themselves to take a Cappuccino during the week, and God forbid, a wine glass to dinner. They are so used to calculating the alternative cost of every single expense that they can’t enjoy the moment without the bad conscience that follows of the misplaced investment.

Even if I have pointed out the ability to love money as an important component in your journey towards becoming rich, there’s a limit for everything. You should allow yourself to live here and now while you still are young enough to enjoy what the life has to offer. Instead you should try to use your brain power to work smarter and improve your ability to make more money. Does it sound like an impossible combination? Maybe, but you should at least be curious enough in trying to learn the art.

If you have a clear vision of what you want from your life, nothing is impossible. But it starts now, you can’t afford to waste your time on things that you don’t want to do just because of fear of the future. If you start now and actively plan for your life and take the necessary steps to realize those dreams, you will notice how much energy it gives to you. You will soon be on your way to your ultimate goal, whatever that may be.

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