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Discover What You Truly Desire in Life

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My dad passed away from cancer when I was 11 years old. That one experience impacted me in all the ways you’d expect: grief, uncertainty, struggle. But, it was an unexpected lesson I learned decades after his death that was the true impact.

I learned the importance of living life by design and not by default. Of living life in a way that is aligned to who I truly am, rather than living to fulfill other people’s desires and expectations. I learned how precious this 1 shot at life is, and that I need to be responsible for crafting the road ahead.

Today we’re diving into the Life Design process and focusing on the first couple steps in the process. The Stanford University Life Design Lab calls this process crafting your Odyssey.

In today’s episode, I’ll talk about my personal journey to discovering the importance and power of life design. I’ll give you a high-level overview of the whole process, then we’ll dive deep into the first couple of stages.

As a bonus, I’ve created a free activity for you all to help you begin to craft your own odyssey. Visit www.peakmindpsychology.com/desire to get free, immediate access to a guided visualization and workbook to help you get a clearer picture of the life you’re hoping to design. It’s my gift to you.

Your life is important and you need to create a life you deserve. Please choose to live it by design, not by default.

Additional Resources:

  1. Get free access to the visualization and workbook that accompany this episode at www.peakmindpsychology.com/desire
  2. Learn about the difference between mindfulness meditation and visualization: https://www.peakmindpsychology.com/blog/0316
  3. Read our post on Increasing Employee Engagement: https://www.peakmindpsychology.com/blog/increasing-employee-engagement

Stanford graduate students have used this process to design career paths that lead the world. But like them, design can be a part of your life.

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Blogs

Peak Mind Pro: Design Your Workspace

Many people spend 40 – 50 hours per week at work. That’s 80 – 100 THOUSAND hours over a career. If you’re not engaged or functioning at your peak, or if you’re on the brink of exhaustion and burn out, you’re having a suboptimal life experience. 

The answer isn’t necessarily to make a drastic change like quitting your job. It may just be as as simple as: design your workspace.

Contrary to New Year’s resolution conventions, broad, sweeping changes aren’t actually effective for most humans. That’s because big changes shock our system, which is stressful. And we tend to revert to the mean, or fall back on old habits, pretty quickly when we’re under stress. Fortunately, there’s a more effective, albeit often counterintuitive, way to make meaningful lasting changes: experimentation.

Through the lens of life design, which is a special blend of psychology and design thinking applied to your life, experimentation means identifying a friction point (a challenging situation, habit, or interpersonal pattern) and designing small changes to test out. As you implement each small experiment, you gain valuable data in the form of experience, and you use that information to iterate – to revise, revamp, and move forward with the next small step. 

You are the architect of your life experience. You are either living by design or by default. You have more control over your daily experience than you might think, regardless of who you report to or your job responsibilities. While you realistically may not be able to change or impact some of your friction points, there are almost certainly some things you can experiment with. Design your workspace with your needs in mind.

Tips to Try 

Your day-to-day experience is significantly impacted by your physical space and the rhythms and habits of your day. Are yours working for you or against you? Your work area should feel as good as home. So much time spent in work environments that your office design should feel as familiar as your living room. 

Choose some of these strategies to test out for a few weeks. Be sure to gather some data over time to see what kind of impact your experiments have.

Design your workspace

*This is especially important if you work from home.

  • Have a designated spot for work. Eat or take breaks in a different place. 
  • Get natural light if possible.
  • Remove distractions. Don’t rely on willpower. Put distractions away. Out of sight is out of mind. 

Create boundaries in your day

*This is especially important to avoid work bleeding into home/family/leisure time.

  • Set a firm beginning and end time for work
  • Set an auto-responder outside of those times and don’t check email. You’ll have more success if you can’t see notifications on your phone; they’re hard to ignore.
  • Perform a ’transition activity’ (something that takes the place of a commute & tells your mind you’re done for the day). If you have a commute, use it as a time to transition by singing along with your favorite music or listening to a podcast, not ruminating about work.
  • Keep a good planner like The Self Journal.

Combat Zoom fatigue 

  • Hide your own face from the meeting (here’s how). Doing so will cut down on distraction and self-criticism.
  • Set expectations with your team about when they can turn video off.
  • No matter at the office or at home, design your workspace to work in accordance to your schedule.
  • Change meetings to 45 minutes to leave time to get up and move in between.

Make time for self-care

*The quality of your work and your relationships will improve if you’re taking care of yourself. Think of it like this, high performance cars need regular servicing and maintenance to run optimally. So do you!

  • Schedule your basic needs (lunch, movement, rest) and breaks into your calendar and treat them like appointments.
  • Block time in your calendar for active work so that you can have uninterrupted time to focus on important tasks. This will keep others from scheduling your time away from you.
  • Have a big bottle of water near you. You’ll drink more if you don’t have to exert effort to get a glass of water, and your brain will work better if you’re well-hydrated.
  • Build brief movement breaks into your day. Even 5 minutes of yoga (example), dancing to 1 song, or pacing while you’re on phone calls can help.
“How you spend your days is how you spend your life. You’re never stuck.”
– Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

Design Your Work Life

Why design your workspace without designing your work life? The strategies above are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to designing your work experience. On January 18th during our live Quarterly Psych Strength Building workshop, we’ll be diving deeper into both psychology and life design to help you find more fulfillment at and outside of work without having to change your actual job responsibilities. There are still some spots available. If you can’t make it to live event, you can still get access to the replay and downloadable workbook. Get your ticket here: