This post continues from the previous post (Part 1), where I blogged about Li Ka-Shing 5 sets of salary in career.
Living in a fast paced society, I was extremely career-driven until I was hampered by a combination of health and career issues several years ago. Thereafter till now, I joined a company that provides me better work life balance. This is when I started reading about philosophy and life. My views on adulthood lives changed since then. It's not just about career and wealth.
Today, turning age 37 in matters of weeks and on Singapore’s 50th birthday, I look back! The issues back then, were extremely significant. For without those events, I will never ENLIGHTEN! Perhaps as Mr. K once said to me on the plane “Everything happens for a reason!” Refer here.
Not to be mistaken, I am still very much career devoted today. I love my industry and job. That said, I will not bring worries in work back home. I will try not to read emails during my own personal time. Yes, I deactivate work emails off my “Smartphone”. It is a fantastic move!
Rolf’s 5 sets of Priorities - H2F3
Today, I reckon to achieve a successful adulthood life, we will possibly need to split our time and energy or priorities into 5 batches.
H2F3 – Health, Hobbies, Family, Financial and Friends
This will be supported by Rolf’s Motto of:
“Know Yourself”, “Find Your Passion”, and “Invest in Yourself”
Health includes food we eat, knowledge of nutrition and exercising.
Hobbies generally cover leisure or things you love doing which relaxes your mind and body. It can be tour, sports, movies, music, food etc.
Family is spouse, kids and parents. For those single it can means parents, siblings or boy/girlfriends.
Financial relates to the ability to earn. It can be your job, business, and investments in stocks, bonds, property etc that are generating income for you. Also included is the knowledge of income allocation, including your savings, expenses, investments, learning, leisure, money for networking etc.
Friends include buddies and relatives. Someone you can genuinely relates to and find comfort be with.
Time Allocation – Seek Balance and Moderation
One aspect of living a successful life is about how we spend our time. You may not be as rich as Li Ka-Shing or as knowledgeable as Lee Kuan Yew, but one thing everyone has equally is 24 hours a day. Spend your time carefully just like how you spend your money.
Almost everyone knows the importance of health. Yet, how many of us really spend time and have the discipline in upkeeping our health. Start taking care of your health now and not later.
Have at least 7-8 hours sleeps a day. Sleep early, ideally before 11am and wake up early. Insufficient sleep time is not optimizing time. Sufficient rest is utmost important for carry out our work efficiently. As a “night owl”, I am guilty for not sleeping early each day. Nevertheless, I will strive to achieve it soonest.
Take Time to Enjoy Your Meal
Never rush or skip meals. Do not eat for the sake of eating! In the past, I will eat so quickly rushing to attend to the next task. “Skipped” or “rushed” breakfast is also common for me back then. For e.g. Munching my Breadtalk pork floss bread for breakfast while driving to work.
Eat Simple and Healthy - Focus
Otherwise, I will packet the not so healthy beehoon, or nasi lemak for breakfast and eat at my office desk. My mouth will be masticating but mind and eyes glued to my emails. Lunch and dinner is no different. Focus is on chit chatting with colleagues and watching TV respectively, not eating. It is not advisable. We should EAT when we are supposed to eat. Eat slowly, enjoy and focus on eating, not other things. It helps in digestion.
Do not over-eat. No supper, please! I was always a victim of over-eating and supper.
For more than two years now, every morning, I will try to have the same breakfast if I am at home. Vitamin C drinks or juice, salad, tomato, egg white, nuts and toast breads. After breakfast, I will look forward to my favorite sugarless black Espresso coffee. It keeps me awake while reading two sets of local newspapers, before heading to office. For lunch, I will prefer to eat alone for two to three days a week, despite calls from colleagues to join them. Eating alone means I can eat at my own pace and I enjoy it. Dinner is almost always with family at home or with friends outside occasionally.
Read about Nutrition
Read about nutrition facts. I personally like to read Men’s Health's magazine.
Exercising is the best way to relax your mind off your work or worries. For me, exercising is not only for health, it is also my hobby. I feel great after exercising. It is also an activity that I can do with my family members and friends, building strong bonds together. I suggest we spend 3 to 4 times weekly on physical activities. At least be 30 minutes each time if you are busy. 1 hour is recommended.
The best way to build relationships is to spend time together. Family time need not to be the most extravagant and costly. It can be even at home watching a nice movie or a simple meal together. Do physical activities together and have fun.
For parents, talking to your children is extremely important too. Spend time to understand them. For me, blogging is one way of education for my children. It will be my library for them. I will use “reading Rolf’s selected articles” as a bargaining chip for my children if they request for favors. This also helps me to create topics for family communication. In fact, it is also a way my wife learn more about life from me.
“A man should never neglect his family for business.”- Walt Disney
Marianna Olszewsk on how to balance between Mother, Family and Business: “The only way possible is to always put my family first and rest will fall in place.” It is so easy to become busy with work being exciting, but end of the day, the most important thing is the health & happiness and family and friends."
As mentioned earlier, this is not just time spent on job. It is time spend to generate and manage your finances.
Essentially we will spend at least 40 hours a week on our job, and say another 5-10 hours on our personal finance each week. In most cases, it is much more, can be up to 60-70 hours weekly. It's not healthy! To have our mind simply tuned towards wealth creation is “cancerous!” When you are not at workplace, switch off your "work mind!" With all due respect to Steve Jobs, emails on smartphones are one of the worst inventions for work life balance. Unnecessary overworking during non-working hours is neither commitment nor hardworking! It is a syndrome of lack of focus in the balance of life.
Work life balance entails choice, discipline and desire. Read Work Life Balance - Part 2: Choice, Discipline & Desire
No “Heart” in Working
On the contrary the complete focus in Family over Financial, is also not advisable especially when you are in your 30s or early 40s of age. This is the time when your human capital is still growing and financial assets are yet to be stable. Most of my friends fall into this category, once they have kids. They told me that work is no longer their priority as they want to spend time with their family. They have no more “Heart” in working anymore (translate in Hokkien!).
To spend 8 hours in workplace with your mind and soul only interested in your stocks, or blogging (like Roy Ngerng), or only thinking about going home and be with your children is going to be really dreadful each day. It only fortifies the finding of EXCUSES to remind how much you dislike your work. This is unhealthy!
The constant search for passion in your work is extremely important.
Passion literally means “to suffer” in Latin. It is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion compelling, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.
Even if you cannot find any more passion in your work, do not keep reminding yourself that you dislike it. Stay patient and eventually you need to keep searching to understand yourself and find what you really like in your work. Getting along well with colleagues does help to mitigate your dis-interest in work also.
For more about passion in work, read my previous article “Understand Yourself? - How to be Happy”
It is extremely important not to over-spend when you are young. Aside from work, spend time to learn about Personal Finance. Plan, keep track and conserve your financial assets early, to prepare for retirement. I am in favour that as we becomes older, we should spend lesser time on earning money, and more time allocated for family, friends and hobbies.
As another financial blogger CW8888 succinctly puts it “Human Asset is like this. You don't keep moving up after some years; you are condemned. That is why our Financial Assets must complement our Human Asset and finally overtake human asset so that we can put our condemned Human Asset to junk yard. LOL!”
While I agree that we should spend lesser time in work as we age, I do not support early retirement. Ok…many bloggers here are going to disagree with me... Sorry!
Now, look at all the successful people in their older age; none of them stop working even during their old age. They find what they like to do eventually. Or they do what they like. Be it part-time investing, trading, freelance writing, tuition, or even full time tutoring your kids, religion etc, it's all going to be ok and fine. But it definitely cannot be only relaxing for the whole day. Or unless you really do not mind being a housewife or housemen (I truly respect!), but make sure you can do that for a long long long time, and not one day, find that life is really boring, and change your plan again!
Join in the Gatherings
One common pitfall for most adults, is once they started their family, they neglect their friends (includes relatives). On every occasions of friends or relatives’ gathering, they will tell you how busy they are because of their children’s enrichment classes, or their work, or this or that bla bla bla etc. I have three kids, and the youngest being 7 month old. Never will I find excuse to miss a friend or relatives’ gatherings. Instead I will always find ways to attend despite my busy schedules.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
In the past, I use to have many groups of friends. But over the years, I am very clear who my true friends and streamlined to few very close ones. They are the one who treat me kind and be there when I need them. There is no jealousy among us, regardless of material wealth or career success. In fact, I always think it is better to have buddies who are more knowledgeable and richer than me! In this way, they can help me when I am in need.
Do meet up with your close friends and relatives at least 2-3 times in a month. Do not ever let the relationships fade, because it is fate that brought you together.
Life without hobby is like trees without leaves. Plain boring. There's nothing to envy on how much you earn, how big your investment portfolio is or how high you climb in career, if you do not even know what your hobbies are!
If you have no hobbies today, go find one! Stop staying at home whole day. Stop looking at your facebook. Stop checking your work emails. Go pick up things you enjoy. It can be jogging, gym, swimming, reading, blogging, drawing, singing, golfing etc
Learn to pamper yourself. Forget about money for a minute, dress up and go for a nice meal and a nice movie. At least twice a year, take tour to relax yourself. Try to spend at least 10 hours a week on your hobbies.
The above is just a rough guide. I am not asking you to use a stop watch and start timing number of hours you spend for each H & F! Always seek balance and in moderation. The underlying success on how you allocate your priorities lie with how strong are you in developing Rolf’s Motto of : “Know Yourself”, “Find Your Passion”, and “Invest in Yourself”!
At different stage of life, priorities and time allocation varies. Yet, in all stages of life, Health still triumph in its overwhelming importance.
Passion is very important for all H & F. If you enjoy exercising (Health) or your job/investments (Financial), it can overlap into Hobbies. Look at how people such as Buffett, Jobs, Musks, Gates, Lee Kuan Yew etc treat their job as their hobbies. You can also perform physically activities with your family and friends, and that can promote health, hobbies, families and friends all at once. Similarly enjoying a meal with family and friends is one of the best things that can happen too.
As Lee Kuan Yew once said nearly 20 years ago: "We cannot measure our happiness just by GDP growth. It is how our families and friends care for each other, how we look after our old and nurture our young. They are what make for a closely-knit society, one we can be proud to belong to."