I think of life like the government. I know, that sounds like an oxymoron. Since humans organized into tribes, there’s always been a clash between individualism and collectivism. So how can I can possibly equate life to that of a government?
It’s simple. I, myself, am the government/nation, and I organize my thoughts, actions, and plans into different “departments.”
Most governments are divided into smaller entities. Within the executive branch of the U.S. government, we have multiple departments. Each of these groups carry out different missions to achieve goals that impact the health and continuation of the government and nation. Individual life is not much different. We serve ourselves—the government and nation—and to achieve that purpose we must organize our thoughts and actions into logical bureaus of internal interests and outside relations.
This is how I organize my life. While not a carbon copy of the U.S. government (for example, I don’t have a “CIA” in my life… or do I?), I do run parallel to many of the organizational ideas that have evolved with each department.
For example, I like to think of my revenue producing activities as falling under a “Department of Economics.” Within this department, I compartmentalize my thinking as it relates to my job, career, freelance work, and new revenue opportunities. In another instance, I’ve formulated a “Department of Finance” to regulate my financial budgeting and forecasting, investment activities, real estate dealings, purchasing decisions, and so forth. You get the idea.
This may seem like an odd, overly methodical way of living life, but I’ve found it extremely useful. When contemplating big decisions, I come to decisions by relying on my various “departments” to steer my thoughts. I can then boil the decision up from the department and to the “government” to determine whether or not I’m making a choice that’s good for me in the long-haul. To demonstrate, knowing how decisions made by your “Department of Social Activity” (yes, I really think of it that way and use that department to coordinate relationships, social functions, and other interactions) impact your Department of Finance will help you to consider financial impacts both ways.
Consider the following:
If you’re a frugal person, you may not make much of an effort to spend money attending happy hours with coworkers. This might seem like a good Department of Finance decision, but it’s negatively impacting the Department of Social Activity. Not spending the resources to be with coworkers for a happy hour or two is bad relationship management. And this actually harms not just your Department of Finance, but your Department of Economics as well. By not furthering your social activity goals, you’re not making connections that lead to career opportunities or new business ideas or potential friendships. This hurts other departments, and it hurts your “government” as a whole. It’s a bad decision.
Even as an individual, your life is very much similar to a government. Decisions, regulations, investments, relationships, expenses, revenues—these (and many more) are areas all better served under a departmental method of organization that will help you to make coherent choices that are visible to your whole self, your relationships with others, and your future.