Proactively Adding What You Love to Your Life

Colorful pens on white paper on a pink background

When it comes to work-life-balance, conventional advice tells us to say “no” to more things.

Saying no to social obligations. Setting boundaries at work. Streamlining our schedules. We’re even told to reduce the objects we own, keeping our home and office free from clutter.

It seems that the key to a happy and productive life is to do less, not more. And while it’s definitely important to manage our workload and boundaries, and remove the toxic variables in our lives, we also want to be making sure that we’re not leading a stark and empty existence. That while you’re taking away the stressors and the things that don’t make you happy, you’re proactively adding in the elements that do make for a happy and fulfilling life.

When was the last time that you did something, not because it would make you more efficient or productive, but because it was fun? When was the last time that you celebrated yourself without it needing to be a milestone or special occasion? Or when was the last time that you got out of your comfort zone and tried to stretch yourself? 

A well-rounded life is one that is full of texture and variety. It’s full of the things that we love, as well as the challenges and lessons that help us grow and become better for it.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can proactively add more to your life in a way that doesn't overwhelm, but adds more meaning and richness. 

What do you love?

When it comes to defining what we love and what lights us up, it’s not always super clear and obvious. It’s so easy to go through life just liking what our friends and loved ones like, while pushing down our true interests and desires. Maybe it’s because we want to fit in, or maybe we think our genuine interests are too silly or dumb, but oftentimes, we find ourselves neglecting what it is that truly makes us happy.

So it’s time to do a little detective work and get to know what it is that you love. And here at Ink+Volt we love any excuse to break out our notebooks, make fun lists, and get introspective. It’s a great way to get to know yourself better and get in touch with your playful and creative side.

Grab your favorite journal and pens and find a cozy spot to write in.

Ask yourself:

  • What were some of your favorite hobbies as a child? What were some of the activities or games or toys you enjoyed playing with? Is there a way that you can incorporate those childhood activities to your current life? For example, maybe you can take up team sports again. Or if you loved playing around with markers and watercolors, maybe you can find time to color or paint. 
  • What are some of your favorite vacation memories? Your favorite solo trip. Or the first time you went to Europe. Or a road trip with friends. What was it that made those vacations so enjoyable? What are some little ways that you can recreate those experiences? For example, having a coffee and pastry for breakfast to make you feel as if you’re vacationing in Europe. 
  • Who are the people in your life that light you up and make you feel like you can be yourself around them? Make a list of the friends, family members, coworkers who light you up instead of weighing you down. Think of ways to include them more in your life. 
  • What is something that scared you at first but ended up challenging you in a good way? Maybe it was speaking in public for the first time. Or gathering the courage to relocate to a new city. Or working up the nerve to ask for help. What are some of the ways that you can stretch or challenge yourself now? Maybe it’s taking a class. Or pitching yourself to a new client. 
  • Describe your ideal day. Sometimes, when we’re asked to visualize our 10-year plan or ideal life, we get stuck. It’s just too big and abstract of a concept to articulate. So make it smaller. It’s much easier to describe what we’d like to do in a single day. And if you can define your ideal day, you’ll then have an easier time articulating your ideal month, year, and life.

Finding time in your day for the things you love

From work demands to running errands to taking care of loved ones and ourselves, it always feels like we never have enough hours in the day.

Though it doesn’t feel like it, we do have the same number of hours as everyone else. It’s not necessarily about trying to create more time, but maximizing the time we do have that can make a big difference.

Look for pockets of time, not stretches. You might think you need an entire weekend to devote to your creative writing or several hours to fit in a workout, but oftentimes, 15-20 minutes is a good amount of time to do what you love. So instead of searching for free days or hours, lock for short pockets of time in your schedule. Those 20 minutes before the kids wake up, you can write in your journal. Or the 10 minutes you have in between meetings, you can close your eyes and meditate. 

Swap an activity you dislike for one you love. Another way to take advantage of your free time is to replace an unproductive activity for one that lights you up. So instead of scrolling on social media, you can read a book. Instead of spending time with an acquaintance who consumes a lot of mental energy, spend it with a friend who energizes you.

Designate days of the week for things you love. Another way to add more good things into your life is to have themed days devoted to what you love. You can designate Mondays for wellness and working out. Or Thursday for your book club meetings. Or Saturdays for recreating your favorite vacation experiences and exploring your city as a tourist. You can also make room in your schedule by having no-meeting days.

Written by JiJi Lee
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