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Simple Life Mastery -- The Elevator Pitch

Say... just for grins... you were interested in mastering what is left of your life. Like me, you might be entering the next phase after full-time employment and you have some money and the kids are not a time-suck.

Straighten Up Your Margin

Here are the margins you might consider:

  1. Money... do you have enough to live day-to-day without too many worries? Do you have some savings? Can you vacation without being extreme?

  2. Time... without full-time employment you should find yourself with more time than you are used to.

  3. Energy... are you too run-down to take on anything new? Are you constantly griping about things? Getting the rest you need? How is the diet? Are you getting the right foods to provide power?

  4. Health... are you mostly pain-free? Are you physically capable to do the things you want to (walking, golfing, whatever)? Are you getting enough rest? How is the weight?

  5. Passion... do you have something that has a weirdly large amount of meaning? This may have been one of the first things you jettisoned during your previous life-- when work and family came first and filled every hour.

  6. Relationships... do you have friends and family to give you joy? Have they all been put on hold for too long?

Health and Energy First

For many of us, health, energy, passion, and relationships have not gotten the love they need to blossom. If this is you, and you are recently retiring (or semi-retiring), it is time to take some from the time margin that is freed up from working less, and put it towards your health and energy. This has to be first... everything else you might want to improve needs clear thinking and drive.

So... first work on a simple diet that can improve your energy and any outstanding health issues you might have over-worked your way into. Be gentle! Don't try and finish this in 3 days, or weeks, or months. This is the single most important thing that you can do to bring mastery into your life.

I won't try and tell you what diet and exercise plan would work for you. I personally enjoy a mostly Keto existence. But that doesn't work for very many people. There is success down many paths... but be gentle... don't judge if something doesn't work for you. Try something different... keep trying... you'll find something that works for you.

Along with a gentle, initial efforts to change your diet, do some very light cardio / fitness activities. Start very, very slowly with this if you have no current routine-- or if you have never been much of a worker-outer. I would recommend walking some... not much... and doing a light amount of sit-ups or crunches. When you are comfortable with a gentle routine, start looking for ways to increase your exercise in ways that interest you. Anything that you do, even the smallest amount, is better than not doing anything!

Simple Planning and Productivity

For those of us in semi-retirement, we likely no longer need an extensive productivity system with planners, processes, massive checklists, etc. I spent most of my adult life in that world and am glad to have left it behind.

I would heartily recommend a very minimal structure for planning and doing:

  1. Find a quiet place for a weekend, by yourself, and ask the questions... what do I want to start doing? stop doing? keep doing-- but different? what would be really cool to do now that life has changed so much? who do I really miss talking to? what would my ideal day look like? what fun things can I do with my wife, husband, dad, kids, friends?

  2. After you have some answers, consider very simple plans to just get started. Don't make elaborate plans to get everything done. Be gentle. The faster you jump into this process, the faster you'll give up or drift away (depending on your personality).

  3. Allow yourself to have the simplest productivity system you can imagine. If you are new to the whole idea of personal improvement / productivity, I would recommend a very simple daily card that has only a few important things on it. There is a whole school of productivity that is meandering down this path... don't make huge plans in extensive software systems... pick small activities for essential goals, not many, and just do those.


So there is a simple start. Slowly work your way into margin (health and energy). At the same time, start looking at your life and making simple plans. To work the plans, make slow, consistent progress by only doing a few small tasks... don't over-plan and over-commit.

Once you have the start of a groove, you can start to think about other margins necessary to master your life, passion and relationships. As you find yourself making progress, slowly add to your planning. Keep getting a clearer picture of what is important to you and making plans that you know you can work towards.

You may find yourself needing more than a simplistic productivity system... do some experimentation to find a productivity system that matches your personality and needs. I have used most of the current "cool" tools and can definitely recommend their use if you have a more complicated life than I have chosen... but be gentle... don't get wrapped up in this world if you can help it! :)

Eventually, you can start to determine what mastery means to you and make your plans and work your plans.

So there, an elevator pitch for life mastery through slow, consistent, gentle, progress.

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