Last year while spending a few days on Koh Samui in Thailand I wrote the first post on the benefits of having slack in your life.
As in that first post, we'll be using the definition of slack as "the loose or unused part".
Running at redline, or using all your capacity, in any area is stressful and potentially damaging over time.
- If you spend all your money you have no funds to deal with unexpected expenses.
- If you work all the time you may find your health is affected.
- If you spend all your time producing, you won't have time to plan.
- If you take the last possible train you will be late in the case of a delay.
- If you only think about others your needs might not be met.
Slack is important, maybe crucial. But slack also represents unused potential. The most profitable solution is probably to use 100%, at least in the short-term. In the long-term running at 100% may result in breakdowns.
I haven't been very good at making slack in my life. I have spent too much time working. I haven't taken the time to exercise. I don't spend much time with friends, or pursuing hobbies. There is a lot of room for improvement.
However, there may be a case to be made for limited periods of sprinting. Working full-out for five or ten years, investing as much as possible, then dialling things back once you have some passive income to supplement work is one solution that seems to work well.
So where can we find slack in our lives?
Money is a big one. The more of your income you spend, the worse your financial situation will be and the less slack you will have. Money slack often leads to time or emotional slack (more time and less stress) so reducing your spending or increasing your income can greatly improve your quality of life.
* Create slack by widening the gap between your income and your spending.
Time is another. If you are very busy, create slack by scheduling downtime like you would any other commitment. If you find yourself wasting a lot of time mindlessly, schedule more constructive uses of time like reading, meeting friends, spending time with family, relaxing offline, etc.
* Create slack by deliberately scheduling free time or leisure activities.
Peace of mind and contentment are the third. Taking on anything people ask of you, putting up with negative or toxic people, doing things because people expect you to can all take a toll on your psyche. When you are young and starting out in life and in work it can be necessary to put up with things, but the older you get the more you can exercise executive choice in these matters.
* Create slack by saying no to work you don't want, or people who don't make your life better.
My scorecard is somewhat mixed on this. I'm pretty good in the money and peace of mind areas (the former makes the latter much easier). However, I have not managed to whip my use of time into shape. Something to work on I guess.
How about you? Have you mastered slack in your life?