If someone asks me “what are your goals” or “where do you want to be in 5 years?”, I have a hard time coming up with a good answer. I don’t have an exact step by step plan, and I’m not sold on the regular “job-car-house-marriage-kids” path that most people seem to follow (I’m not sure if they ever decided that’s what they want, or if they just do those things because everyone does them).
Here’s a question that I prefer to ask myself:
What would my ideal average week look like?
I’m talking about an average week, not some outlier experience like lying on some beach and sipping cocktails or partying all day (unless that’s what you dream of doing all day every year. I know it would bore me to death after two days).
It’s a good question to ask yourself, maybe once a year, as your preferences might change. And I would recommend writing it down somewhere, and add details.
Writing down what my ideal week looks like allows me to reverse-engineer what I value and what steps I need to take to get there.
I don’t know exactly what I’ll do in 5 years and where I’ll be, there are too many uncertainties and things outside of my control.
But I have a pretty good idea of how I want to spend my average day.
I know that I have to create something every day, I know I should move my body a bit, I know too much social stuff is annoying to me, but total isolation isn’t great either.
I’ve made this exercise recently and my ideal week would look something like this (I left out some details – but maybe this’ll give you some inspiration):
- 3 days a week: Getting up when I want to and working on creative projects (making videos, music, writing). To me, this doesn’t feel like work at all. I want to have distraction-free time for myself, to the extent possible. After lunch, I’d take a long walk somewhere in nature, maybe with a dog (I should get a dog), and do some high intensity workout afterwards. I’d maybe meet a friend in the evening and eat out once
- 3 days a week: Working (be it as an employee or working on my own business). This realistically will not always be super fulfilling, but it’s to pay the bills and so that I don’t have to make money with my creative projects. I also see the value in working in a team, solving difficult problems, building skills and being valued for something I am competent in. I don’t want a high-stress environment where overtime is expected, though. I’d probably need the evenings to relax and recover because dealing with people depletes my energy quickly
- One day a week: Free day to chill out. Something fun like hiking, going to the sauna or meeting friends. Have a “date night” in the evening with my partner
Writing this down made it clear to me that I want to live a pretty simple life.
What’s most important to me is freedom.
I don’t need to be rich for that, I don’t need a huge house and I don’t need to be famous or surrounded by a large social circle – so I’m already pretty close to living my ideal life, even though my brain sometimes tricks me into believing I still need to achieve some Herculean things to really be happy.
One thing I’ve learned is that almost every activity has diminishing marginal returns, and I try to account for that in my week plan.
What that means is: Everything in excess kind of sucks.
For instance, filming and editing an ASMR video once a week is fun, but having to do it every day would be tiresome and feel very much like a chore. I think working 5 days a week in an office job with similar tasks and routines is depressing, but 3 days a week can be fine.
But remember this, which is equally important: Having nothing to do all week can suck as well. If you’ve ever been unemployed or underemployed without having something to work on and get better at, you probably know what I’m talking about.
Maybe you’re really different from me and your ideal week would be being a surf instructor in a warm country, or it’s working a regular 9 to 5 until retirement and focusing on your family, or becoming a full-time artist. All of these are valid (just remember the “doing one thing in excess usually makes it annoying” thing).
If you’ve never thought about these things consciously, you possibly just copied the life script of others, and there’s no guarantee that it’s the right script for you. You may have set goals at some point like “I want to make 1 million” – but does that money really help you to live the life you want to live? Maybe you’ll end up being 40 in a stressful job and a million in your bank account, but you’ll hate your life and it’ll be hard to escape all your responsibilities that you never really wanted.
In any case, I’d invite you to take a notebook right now and write down what your ideal average week would look like. I know this exercise helped me a lot in figuring out how I want to live my life.
😴 What might help you find calm
Intentional ASMR Picks:
- Loved the props and sounds in ASMR for Victorian Ladies by Atmosphere
- Latte’s newest Nurse roleplay was relaxing as well (she’s getting something out of your eye)
- I thought this hand spa treatment and nail treatment by Myaling was great, even though I’ve never done something like that
- ASMRtica drawing machines on book covers was nice – I like unusual videos like these
Unintentional ASMR Picks:
- I love Stuart Davis for relaxing painting tutorials (a bit like Bob Ross) like this one called the Illusion of Detail
- This tutorial on how to remove lint balls or pilling from clothing was surprisingly relaxing (and the accent is nice)
- This was interesting and relaxing too: A mini-documentary on an abandoned nuclear reactor in Austria
- Bookbinder Peter Goodwin applying glue (I love the sounds he makes when applying it so I looped my favorite parts)