Author Topic: "purposeful life" by way of a spreadsheet?  (Read 1088 times)

reformingSucka

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"purposeful life" by way of a spreadsheet?
« on: November 17, 2017, 12:34:44 AM »
TL;DR - my attempt at a "purposeful life" using a spreadsheet and maybe it could be of use for other Mustashians.

From reading many a posts on the forum, I feel that fellow Mustachians are trying to figure out what all life is about once they unplug from the toxic programming of: working more to consume more = happiness. And I believe that this is a stage that many of us (myself included) arrive at long before reaching FIRE. And I've noticed that post-FIRE Mustashians continue to struggle with this same question.

For me personally, I arrived at this stage once my finances were fully automated - from direct deposit paychecks and automated retirement contributions to a countdown clock for FIREing. Before this, I was living a typical financial sucka life - using restaurants as sources of food, exhibiting car clown behaviors, buying unnecessary crap, and then STRESSING OUT trying to pay for all of it, all the while feeling depleted of space/time/energy to actually live. And the stress of living the sucka life lead me to hanging out with friends at restaurant with nice "ambiance", to engage in complainypants conversations about money and life, all the while drinking a $12 glass of wine. Until I discovered MMM, FIRE, and my love of spreadsheets.

Spreadsheets have done wonders for my finances - namely awareness of where my money is all going AND an easy undeniable financial reality check. So, in trying to figuring out how I can live a purposeful life, I naturally opened a spreadsheet. Something about the lines and boxes helps put order to my monkey mind. And what was once an obscure "I want to live a purposeful life" began to take shape in columns and rows.

But first, I had to figure out what all would go in the rows. So I wrote down all the things that matter to me and the things that bring me joy. For example, my relationship with my family, friends, co-worker, and community is important to me. Meditation. Health. Hobbies & activities. Books I want to read, and things I want to do and accomplish. All of that fell into rows.

Then, the harder task was figuring out what went in the columns. For starters - How do I measure relationships?* I pondered this like a social scientist. Because measuring how long I meditated, or how long it took me to finish a book I've been meaning to read is easy.

*see below for my best guess answer right now for measuring relationships.

Row = what matters to you, what brings you joy, what you want more of in your life (time with family, friends, or more sleep anyone?)
Column = how you want to measure your progress.

Row1, Column 1: *Strengthening and developing my relationship with:
Row 1, Column 2: Person.
Row 1, Column 3: Date.
Row 1, Column 4: Numerical rating of current state. From 1-10; 1: needs improvement. 10: feeling positve, making progress
Row 1, Column 5: Free text - Current Subjective Experience, i.e. memories, laughs, thoughts, reflections.
Row 1, Column 6: Hopes and actions going forward
Repeat column 3-6 to add new dates and data.

Much like using spreadsheets for finances - the value of a purposeful life spreadsheet for me has been to build my own awareness, acknowledging what the current state is, identify what progress looks or feels like, AND then take action in the direction of progress. And the beauty of it all - I can add, modify, and change the column and rows to reflect the ever changing dynamics of the life I live.

May this be of use :)

Miss Piggy

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Re: "purposeful life" by way of a spreadsheet?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2017, 07:20:14 AM »
Interesting idea. I do often think "I should put more effort into my relationship with so-and-so..." but then I do pretty much nothing. Then I have the same thought a couple of months later. The problem is that I do nothing because I simply don't have the time (or maybe I just don't make the time) because I'm still working. This will be more useful for me once I'm FIREd.

Melody

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Re: "purposeful life" by way of a spreadsheet?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2017, 07:51:26 AM »
I have a "people to call" and "people to see" list on my fridge. If i find myself thinking about someone and missing them i add them to the list and try and be disciplined about actioning it. Its not foolproof but it helps. I try and combine phone calls with walking around the suburb so the phone call doubles as excersise time.

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reformingSucka

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Re: "purposeful life" by way of a spreadsheet?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2017, 08:51:40 AM »
Interesting idea. I do often think "I should put more effort into my relationship with so-and-so..." but then I do pretty much nothing. Then I have the same thought a couple of months later. The problem is that I do nothing because I simply don't have the time (or maybe I just don't make the time) because I'm still working. This will be more useful for me once I'm FIREd.

I can totally relate. For example, in terms of my finances, I used to think "I make $1000, and my rent is $500, and other 'fixed expenses' are $600" so that's why I have no money! And then I started to question -- does my rent have to be $500? How 'fixed' are those expenses? In terms of my personal life, I knew that 1) my physical health is important to me, 2) I enjoy walking and hiking, and 3) quality relationships are vital to my well being and joy. So, instead of fitting in an hour for the gym everyday - I try (everyday is a practice) to get in 30-60 minute walk with someone whose relationship I value, or call them while I'm walking around the neighborhood.

Is there a creative way you could make that call - maybe while you're making, or at the grocery shopping? Maybe taking 15 minutes during your lunch break or evening walk?


reformingSucka

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Re: "purposeful life" by way of a spreadsheet?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2017, 08:53:34 AM »
I have a "people to call" and "people to see" list on my fridge. If i find myself thinking about someone and missing them i add them to the list and try and be disciplined about actioning it. Its not foolproof but it helps. I try and combine phone calls with walking around the suburb so the phone call doubles as excersise time.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

That's awesome! I am always learning and finding new ways to improve. Do you have other tips on how you fit in building and maintain quality relationship in your busy life? Thanks!

Miss Piggy

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Re: "purposeful life" by way of a spreadsheet?
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2017, 09:33:45 AM »
Interesting idea. I do often think "I should put more effort into my relationship with so-and-so..." but then I do pretty much nothing. Then I have the same thought a couple of months later. The problem is that I do nothing because I simply don't have the time (or maybe I just don't make the time) because I'm still working. This will be more useful for me once I'm FIREd.

I can totally relate. For example, in terms of my finances, I used to think "I make $1000, and my rent is $500, and other 'fixed expenses' are $600" so that's why I have no money! And then I started to question -- does my rent have to be $500? How 'fixed' are those expenses? In terms of my personal life, I knew that 1) my physical health is important to me, 2) I enjoy walking and hiking, and 3) quality relationships are vital to my well being and joy. So, instead of fitting in an hour for the gym everyday - I try (everyday is a practice) to get in 30-60 minute walk with someone whose relationship I value, or call them while I'm walking around the neighborhood.

Is there a creative way you could make that call - maybe while you're making, or at the grocery shopping? Maybe taking 15 minutes during your lunch break or evening walk?

Funny you suggest this. I've actually started making calls while I'm doing something else (walking, driving, etc.) every now and then. I resisted this for quite a while because I was afraid it would seem rude, but the people on the other end don't care at all, and we're both happy to catch up. (I've also stopped getting annoyed at the loud phone talkers in the grocery store, as I figure they're just multi-tasking, and I get it.)