What is lifestyle design?
I'll tell you this much right now - there's no visual aspect to it so it won't come in a frame on your wall, or be described as ''chic'! Lifestyle design is an entirely different idea - it is a choice every single person makes (or doesn't make) in regards to how they live their lives. It is a philosophy, and one that has taken off with big thanks to technology and the age of the internet. You may have heard of Timothy Ferris's book, 'The 4-Hour Work Week'? It is based on the same principles. This is how he describes lifestyle design and the people doing it:
"The 'New Rich' are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles in the present using the currency of the New Rich: time and mobility. This is an art and a science we will refer to as Lifestyle Design." -Timothy Ferris
I describe lifestyle design as:
'People who want to craft a better lifestyle through meaningful choices of careers, hobbies, creative tendencies or travel'.
I would like to eliminate the word 'luxury' from Ferris's sentence, simply because lifestyle design can be as simple or as extravagant as you want - for most people being happy in their work and relationships and being financially stable is enough. Essentially, lifestyle design means examining your life, your goals and your values and thinking about how you can make these things align sooner rather than later. Why wait until retirement? It's about creating a life that makes you happy and feel fulfilled (note - not necessarily making a ton of money!). and becoming aware of your options and choosing to follow your heart rather than letting society design your life for you! This can include what you choose to do as a career or job, as a hobby, in your spare time.... Big or small, lifestyle design is achievable for everyone as long as you are ready to commit to making decisions.
Your lifestyle design choices don't have to be life-changing - and even if they are, it's small steps that are going to get you where you want to be anyway! Even small choices you make during your day can have a big effect on how you perceive your life as a whole.
Some examples of big and small lifestyle design are:
- 'Starting a small business owners or being an entrepreneur
- Prioritising being an artist and/or creative person
- Having a location independent career such as freelancing
- Running a side hustle just because you love it
- Giving yourself time in your day to do what you love - meditate, create art, work on projects... Whatever is important to you!
- Being a stay at home mum
- Living off the grid (growing your own food, generating your own power and being generally self-sufficient) or the slightly less extreme minimalistic way of living
- Traveling beyond short holidays
The list goes on and on! A quick google search will give you tons of other examples, real-life case studies as well as people who are highly skeptical of the philosophy.
How I am designing my own lifestyle
I have read about and researched this philosophy relentlessly for the last couple of years, ever since I got on a plane and felt the desire to see more, do more and be more. This year, I began to live out my version of lifestyle design by changing careers and shifting around the world to the UK. Why?
My goals are to travel extensively, continually learn and to work digitally. So, I need a location independent career that is challenging and adaptable. So what have I done? I've moved to the UK where travel is cheap and far more accessible than New Zealand. I've started an online business offering web design, and I also offer my services as a freelance writer and photographer. Writing is an 'umbrella career' where I have one skill but can apply it to hundreds of fields and learn about a ton of subjects (yep, I'm a nerd I know) and the other two are creative fields that I'm really passionate about and love doing. But because my online biz is still fledgling, I need an income! So I have finished my vet nursing career (for now) and work part time as a showroom demonstrator. It doesn't sound glamorous, but I am loving it because when it's quiet I can work on my own projects and build up my online business plus I get three days a week to trip around! So, this is the first few steps of achieving my ideal lifestyle design. Sometimes, the design works in unexpected ways :)
Lifestyle design comes down to committing to what you want to do during the day and finding ways to do that as much as possible. You have to ignore the "I should....' because you will be listening and acting out on what others expect of you rather than following your own intuition and heart. Spend some time figuring out what you enjoy doing, and how you can incorporate more of that into your every day life. I find mind maps and brainstorms are a great way to get started, and then just started somewhere! Don't put it off, because this is your life and you want to live it out in a way that makes you happy!