A few weeks ago, the interwebs had some fun with Mark Wahlberg's daily routine and similar articles over the years. I remember Tim Ferris putting something similar out a couple of years ago and one of the parodies said something about getting up at 3am and doing calligraphy for two hours.
A friend shared an article from Inc titled If You're Too Busy for These 5 Things, Your Life Is More Off Course Than You Think and despite the title, the article is 3000 words with what seems like dozens and dozens of things. I like the idea of having broad priorities in life and narrower priorities in the various parts of life; work, family etc.
But unlike the Inc article this sort of introspective prioritization needs to be simple. The Inc article has eight ideas to ponder before even getting to the 5 things and then there appears to be a myriad of topics to ponder under each of the 5 things. That this article was even written validates the idea that many people seek out overly complicated solutions to their problems or even worse, overly complicated solutions when there actually are no problems.
Investors, professional and do-it-yourselfers alike, often make their investment processes more complicated than they need to be. When setting out to construct and then manage a portfolio it is important to realize that just buying one equity index fund can get the job done. Just buying one equity index fund would result in more volatility than most people would be comfortable with. The are other reasons why a one fun portfolio is sub-optimal but there is something to said for the simplicity of it. To the extent taking bits of process from various sources to create your own process is a good idea, the simplicity of a one fund portfolio is worth taking some influence from; simplicity. Simplicity has benefits in other aspects of life too.
What areas of your life are most important to you? Can you sum up in one sentence why those areas are important? It doesn't get much simpler than one sentence but I bet a couple of priorities that most people have could be summed up in just a couple of words.
Family. If this is one of your priorities do you need to say more than that? You may think more than that but the health, well being on all fronts and overall happiness might be summed up with that one word. How you tend to that priority will have more moving parts but you're likely to do whatever needs doing even if you don't know what that might mean on the front end.
Health and fitness. This might need a little more color but not that much more. Someone is less likely to be able to actually follow through on "family" if they're physically less capable than they potentially could be not to mention just being able to do whatever they like doing. I have previously referred to this as successful aging and another term for it is increased lifespan. I've written plenty of posts about the related financial benefits that go with spending less or even nothing on the chronic maladies that affect many people and are expensive; mostly blood sugar issues, hypertension and issues related to obesity. Feeling better and spending less would seem to be a worthwhile pursuit.
Career. This one is potentially more complicated. I love my work which I break down to studying markets and helping clients get to where they want to be and then helping them stay there. I have no goals involving growth of my business, I am where I want to be; I make enough to pay the bills, put some away for the future with a little leftover for some fun. I want to love my work without being the guy who people avoid because they think I am always trying to sell something. Not only do I not want to be perceived as always selling something, I don't actually want to always be selling something. Life is too short not to love what you do. Not that you should expect that you can avoid paying your dues in a job you don't love but 35, 40 or 50 comes around quickly and paying your dues to build a solid financial base early on can make it easier to find the job you love if you don't already love your job. That might not help you one lick but it has been my path. Hopefully you find the path that is right for your career.
Volunteerism. This is obviously a huge priority for me. The benefits include helping other people, the psychic value of doing good things, the opportunity for new opportunities (word repeated for emphasis), problem solving that might help your day job and the chance of having experiences you'd otherwise never have and meeting people you'd never otherwise meet. I can't tell anyone else this should be a in their lives, but it is in mine and I would encourage anyone to explore this for themselves.
Stay curious. This my catchall for continue to learn and grow not only professionally but also with hobbies and learning about entirely new (to you) things.
That's my list, five things thought of in simple terms (fair enough if I am missing something). I don't think there's anything wrong with reading posts from people taking on these ideas in a complicated fashion, you can still learn and/or take salient points but I think you make every aspect of your life easier when you can simplify those aspects.