As the typical person will work 80,000 hours in a full lifetime, I want to work in a way that isn’t just waiting until retirement to do all the things I wanted to do but didn’t have time for because I was working. I don’t want to reach my 70th birthday and regret that I didn’t spend enough time with my wife, or play enough with my son or dog.
I want to do work that is not in competition with personal time. I want to do work that can fit around all the other stuff I enjoy doing. It’s got to be work that is flexible. It’s got to be work that is aligned with my values.
I don’t expect the work to be something I’ll always love doing. There will always be something that’s dull or stressful. That’s ok. I’m more interested in the work I’m doing consistently from one day to another.
As I’m going to spend so much of my life working, I want it to be work that challenges me, and occasionally excites me. Work that’s robust enough to withstand global recessions, pandemics and personal tragedy. And perhaps even apocalyptic events.
Working the Good Life for me is working from my home office in France as a freelancer supporting various interesting and wonderful small business owners and other freelancers.
It’s work with few overheads to worry about – all I need is a computer and internet connection. It’s work where I’m choosing who I work with and what type of work I’m doing. It’s work that gives me plenty of opportunities to learn new skills. And most importantly, it’s work that fits into the other things I enjoy in life.
I love spending time with my dog and sharing lunch with my wife when she’s not teaching at school. I enjoy an afternoon siesta, a long walk in the forest, or sharing a coffee with a friend. It’s reading for hours, doing some charitable work or helping my mum with her business.
Working the Good Life is about putting my physical and mental health before chasing a conventional business goal that’s usually more money, more clients or more followers on Instagram. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t aim to grow our business, but I know that when I’m feeling great, in body and mind, I’m in the best position to create and run a successful, profitable business.
If we look after our body and mind, then we’ll have more energy. We’ll be sick less often, we’ll be less stressed, and we’ll be better equipped to handle the challenges we’ll face. I aspire for a healthy and well balanced life because I saw what unhealthy habits and chasing the wrong goals in life did to my dad.
My guides towards living and working a balanced life are ancient wisdom in the form of Stoicism and Zen Buddhism, the natural world and the discoveries we’re making in science to better understand our minds.