How to maximize fun, minimize stress

I’m back!  Sorry you haven’t heard from me for a bit.  Every year my wife and I take a trip with three other couples and this year I decided to pretty much “unplug” so I could just relax and recharge. 

Not posting for almost two weeks means that I have plenty of things in the hopper though, including a 30-Day Learning Challenge update, some thoughts on fixing problems before getting to retirement, life advice from Ray Bradbury (he passed away a few weeks ago), and an overview of how the Supreme Court’s recent ruling will likely affect your health care during retirement. 

But first, a few quick ideas that occurred to me over the last few weeks on how to maximize fun and minimize stress.

Is this worth doing?

Everything we do in life takes some of our time and some of our money.  Our activities also come with a built in “opportunity cost” because choosing one thing means forgoing something else. 

With so many things to choose from, how do we pick those things that will result in the most fun, fulfillment, and satisfaction?  A good place to start is to ask yourself this question:

“Will I remember this in 50 years?”  (Or however long you happen to live)

If something passes the “50 year” test, there’s a pretty good chance that I’ll add it to my to-do list.  Those things usually cost money, take some planning and get you out of your comfort zone, but they are also the things that give you a full life and a rich abundance of memories with family and friends. 

I don’t have a very clear memory of what I did yesterday afternoon, but I will never forget teaching our daughter to ride her bike, scuba diving with my friends in Anguilla, hiking The Great Wall or having lunch with my wife at the Eiffel Tower.  When I think about the story of my life, those are the things that will stand out.

Is this worth stressing about?

For many of us, stress is a constant.  It’s like white noise in the background of life.  Stress can be a useful motivator, but it’s not really healthy or worthwhile to constantly be worrying. 

As I was scrambling to finish things up before heading out of town, I could feel my anxiety level rising.  To counter the stress, I asked myself this question:

“Will this matter in five years?”

For most of the projects on my desk, the answer was no.  It was stuff my assistant could handle while I was gone or something that I could finish when I got back.  It wasn’t the kind of stuff that was going to alter the course of my life, it was just a bunch of work that needed to get done.  Once things were in perspective, my anxiety melted away.  If it’s not going to matter in the long-run, it’s not worth worrying about in the short-run.  Just do your best to come up with a “rip off the band-aid” solution (quick and painless) and then move on. 

How about you?  What are you contemplating doing?  Does it pass the “50 Year” test?  How about stress?  Anything keeping you up at night?  Does it pass the “5 Year” test?  You can craft a pretty satisfying life if you’re intentional about your choices and selective about your worries. 

Have a great week!

Joe

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply