Designing Your Life

Designing Your Life for Joyful Vibrance
How do you get over the analysis paralysis of not knowing what to do next in life? You can start designing your life.  Designing your life involves choosing the mix of activities you incorporate into your daily routines.  We can leave our decisions up to a boss or spouse or even our parents, but ideally we have freedom to choose among a myriad of options, making the final decisions ourselves.  Greater joy, vitality , and happiness can result from selecting from activities we have chosen ourselves.

Designing Your Life

I’ve been studying a gem titled, Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.  The book teaches us about using design principles in designing our lives.  It describes the use of mind mapping, prototyping, grokking, and keeping an energy and engagement log. For the first time in my life, I drew a mind map on a sketch pad.  My first design for my life was enough to fill three lifetimes, or more.  I drew several other possibilities and was ready to prototype them.  A prototype is a trial of the possibility.  It can be accomplished by simply having conversations with people who are already doing what you want to do.  Networking may be necessary in order to contact those people and get the conversations going.

Grokking

Dave and Bill suggested grokking, a new word for me. Grokking is understanding deeply and completely–to the point you become one with it.  You can choose an option for your life and live as if you have made the decision for a while to see how it feels.  First, one of my options involves doing a blog.  So, I decided to write this blog entry and grok the experience.

My Book “Joyful Vibrance” 

Second, another part of my first mind map is to share my book Joyful Vibrance:  Transform Your Body Image, Energy, and Mood!  It’s Possible!.  I have some insight into transforming body image, energy, and mood.  Consequently I may willingly give my transforming book to anyone who shares their email address with me.  I’ll have to grok that possibility as well.

The Log for Designing Your Life

In addition, Bill and Dave recommended keeping a log of my activities and noting how engaging or energizing they are.  Here’s what my first few activities looked like:

Work Energy and Engagement 

 
 
 
Date
Time
Activity
Energy
Engagement
Energy+Engage
9/6/2017
 
Studying “Designing Your Life”
9
10
19
9/6/2017
 
Music Theory Lesson on Lynda.com
7
10
17
9/6/2017
 
Piano playing “Lara’s Theme”
7
6
13
9/6/2017
 
Processing email
4
8
12
9/7/2017
9:16 AM
Getting a salted tomato and fish oil
8.5
8
16.5
9/7/2017
10:49 AM
Mind Mapping Diagram
9
10
19
9/7/2017
1:25 PM
Learning Excel 2013 and setting up this spreadsheet
8
8
16
9/7/2017
1:33 PM
Learning about Excel shortcuts
5
7
12
9/7/2017
1:53 PM
Cleaning the kitchen, sweeping floor, starting dishwasher
8.5
6
14.5
9/7/2017
2:26 PM
Top 500 with JV Life Tracker
9
9
18
9/7/2017
2:39 PM
Writing and editing “Joyful Vibrance”
3
10
13
9/7/2017
4:56 PM
Finally finishing going through my Outlook Mail
2
8
10
9/7/2017
5:27 PM
Writing a letter to Tony
9
10
19
9/7/2017
5:41 PM
Calling Mark and arranging to talk later
8
8
16
9/7/2017
5:54 PM
Updating Cronometer
9
10
19
9/7/2017
6:16 PM
Helping Mom with business; Email links; Getting some watermelon
7
9
16
9/7/2017
7:05 PM
“Designing Your Life”  Brainstorming, Prototyping, & How Not to Get a Job
3
10
13
9/7/2017
9:15 PM
Brainstorming with Mark
1
6
7
9/7/2017
9:29 PM
Woebot
5
9
14
9/7/2017
 
Updating Cronometer
10
10
20
As you can see, I can easily sort these activities by Energy + Engagement in Excel:

Work Energy and Engagement

 
 
 
Date
Time
Activity
Energy
Engagement
Energy+Engage
9/7/2017
 
Updating Cronometer
10
10
20
9/6/2017
 
Studying “Designing Your Life”
9
10
19
9/7/2017
10:49 AM
Mind Mapping Diagram
9
10
19
9/7/2017
5:27 PM
Writing a letter to Tony
9
10
19
9/7/2017
5:54 PM
Updating Cronometer
9
10
19
9/7/2017
2:26 PM
Top 500 with JV Life Tracker
9
9
18
9/6/2017
 
Music Theory Lesson on Lynda.com
7
10
17
9/7/2017
9:16 AM
Getting a salted tomato and fish oil
8.5
8
16.5
9/7/2017
1:25 PM
Learning Excel 2013 and setting up this spreadsheet
8
8
16
9/7/2017
5:41 PM
Calling Mark and arranging to talk later
8
8
16
9/7/2017
6:16 PM
Helping Mom with business; Email links; Getting some watermelon
7
9
16
9/7/2017
1:53 PM
Cleaning the kitchen, sweeping floor, starting dishwasher
8.5
6
14.5
9/7/2017
9:29 PM
Woebot
5
9
14
9/6/2017
 
Piano playing “Lara’s Theme”
7
6
13
9/7/2017
2:39 PM
Writing and editing “Joyful Vibrance”
3
10
13
9/7/2017
7:05 PM
“Designing Your Life”  Brainstorming, Prototyping, & How Not to Get a Job
3
10
13
9/6/2017
 
Processing email
4
8
12
9/7/2017
1:33 PM
Learning about Excel shortcuts
5
7
12
9/7/2017
4:56 PM
Finally finishing going through my Outlook Mail
2
8
10
9/7/2017
9:15 PM
Brainstorming with Mark
1
6
7
 

Work Energy and Engagement Log Applied

Dave and Bill recommend keeping this log for three weeks.  Designing Your Life introduced a man who went into civil engineering because it was his mother’s idea.  He majored in civil engineering, graduated, and went to Holland with his girlfriend and got a civil engineering job there.  Later, he returned, married his girlfriend, and worked another civil engineering job.  About this time he realized he wasn’t happy.  His father said he was good at math; he should go into finance.  Therefore, he contemplated returning to school to get his MBA.  He turned to Dave and Bill, and they had him keep a log of his work activities showing how engaged he was in each and how energized each made him.  Consequently, he analyzed his log to learn that solving engineering problems engaged him, but administration and meetings didn’t energize or engage him.  Therefore, instead of going back to school in business, which would have been a colossal waste of time, he got his Ph.D. in engineering.  After graduating he obtained a new position where he was able to focus on engineering problems, free from administration work, and he was happy.
I can see that updating Cronometer tops my list so far. Cronometer.com is a diet diary I highly recommend.  I’ll talk more about it in future blog entries.  In conclusion, I want to emphasize that our life’s work can be designed in prototyped iterations.  Start designing your life with joy and vibrance!
With love,
KaeLyn Morrill

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