Figure out what you want to spend your precious time on without acting like a total D about it

Written by Weeri

For the better part of my life, I’ve done what was expected of me. Or, what I thought that people expected of me. As soon as I stopped doing what is expected, I started experiencing the freedom I had been looking for. I’ll share with you my tricks on how I changed my mindset and started to live free without acting like a total Donkey about it.

Figuring out what you value the most

The first step of living like a FOCCER is to determine what you want to spend your precious time on. You will have to determine what you value the most and then make it a priority to spend as much time as you can on those values. As a result, you will be doing exactly what you want to do.

For me, doing what I wanted to do wasn’t easy. I had to battle many voices in my head. I had sold myself the story that people would look down on me when I became a cook instead of becoming a real estate developer. Next to that, I was constantly stressed about making ends meet month after month. After trying many different things, I slowly started to experience freedom.

Freedom is what I value the most. I think you’re free when you don’t give a damn about a job title and how much money you make. You’re free when you can just be satisfied with what you have. You’re free when you can spend as much time with people that you care about. You’re free when you can be so focused and enjoying what you are doing that you totally forget about the time and the world around you. However, the freedom that I picture comes with a price, responsibility, and risk.

When you try something new, minimize your risk

Spending all of your time on what you value most is easier said than done. Everyone’s situation is unique, so there is no secret cure for all. You will just have to try many things to see what works for you.

Basically, I see life as a constant quest to figure out what you value in life and trying many different things to live up to your own values until you have found out what works for you. If you keep on going long enough, you will make small steps that will combine into a giant leap ahead.

The foolish thing to do would be burning your ships behind you and blindly follow your instincts. On contrary, I think you will have to minimize unnecessary risks when you dip your toes in unknown territory. I believe it is wise to make sure you don’t have to stress about your basic needs before you move up to becoming the best version of yourself.

Be brutally honest to yourself

In everything you do, the key is to be brutally honest to yourself. Your current situation is made out of stone-cold facts. If you are not satisfied with how things are, you will have to be totally honest to yourself to figure out what the source of your dissatisfaction is.

I find it also good to remember myself that history can’t be changed, and the future is unpredictable. Lying to myself only makes me run in circles to fix my old lies. By being brutally honest with myself,  I started to build more self-awareness and self-confidence.

So, how do you figure out what you want to spend your precious time on? I’ve determined five things you can work on that follows Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs. I like to start with things that I can control and slowly move up to things that are not (yet) in my reach.

Below, I dive deeper into the things I did that helped me to form my personal values and determine what I wanted to do with my time. I am still working on these aspects, and expect to keep working on them for the rest of my life to make sure that I prioritize working on my values.

(1) How to Make Sure You Don’t Have Financial Stress

First things first. I hate stress. I hate financial stress the most. I don’t want to stress about my finances. Not when I don’t have a lot of money. Not when I have enough money. Not even when I’m rich. Financial stress is just the worst.

Simply put, when you are financially stressed, I think there are  two things you can do: make more money or spend less. Making more money sounds easy, but can be difficult if you’re not highly skilled in something with high demand. I think it’s easy to fall into the trap of trading your time for money.

In the short run, you will get more money. In the long run, you might burn yourself up from chasing more money. That’s exactly what we don’t want, as the goal is to not have financial stress. I think that if you’re desperately looking for ways to make more money, you will eventually still stress about money.

I found it way easier to start with cutting unnecessary expenses. It may be a hard pill to swallow at first, but it’s the one thing I do have control of. I can’t control a guaranteed income. However, I can control how much I spend. In order to get control over my financial stress, I asked myself some questions. Maybe some of these questions can help you to cut on some expenses before you can start earning what you deserve.

Do you know what comes in and what goes out?

I never had a clear picture of my income and expenditures. I knew how much money every month would come in, and I knew that at the end of every month my bank account was zero.

As long as you don’t have grown-up responsibilities and the luck of parents who are willingly sponsoring here and there, there is no real problem in living from month to month. From the day I graduated, things changed in the blink of an eye.

Although doing my finances might not be one of my biggest hobbies, not having financial stress is the ride to freedom. That ride starts with having a clear overview of what comes in and what goes out.

So here’s what I did. Grab a pen and paper and your bank app. Start writing down what came in in the last full month. Start with what comes in, because probably that’s only a couple of lines a month. Add everything up and bob’s your uncle.

Then you move on to the most confronting part. Your expenditures. Again, paper and pen, write down everything that you have given your money to. The pain of writing will keep your eyes on the stone-cold facts.

Then, create subcategories for your expenditures. You can think of things such as food, housing, travel (including public transport and car), clothing, sports, leisure (Netflix, Spotify, secret memberships), party, healthcare, etc. I’m not you, so I don’t know what you like to spend your money on. You will have to figure out for yourself what your main categories are.

So, if you are like me, then there are probably some expenses you didn’t realize you spent that much on. For me, it was drinking in the bar (which I secretly knew, but tried to hide from my own consciousness), and clothing. Lastly, make a list like this for the last year to get a full overview of what you have wasted your money on.

Now you have faced your own reality, you have to come to a conclusion. Is there more money coming in than you are spending and you don’t have future plans? Congrats, you do you. However, if you don’t have anything on savings account for cold winters? Then you should probably go to the step below: cancel unnecessary expenses.

Do you really need this?

When I was dirt broke soul searching in Thailand, I was lucky that I could stay with my family and that food was cheap. However, my bills at home kept knocking on my door claiming my attention while my head was in a totally different space.

I made a list of things that I couldn’t Houdini myself out of. In short, those were the things I had signed a contract for and I couldn’t walk away from like paying for mandatory healthcare, my phone, and a loan I had gifted myself as a student. Banks, governmental entities, and large corporations are just not the organizations to play games with (note to future me: don’t put your faith in the hands of banks, the government, and large corporations).

I canceled the things that didn’t get me in trouble! That means Spotify, YouTube is free. No more Netflix. You will be surprised that you won’t miss anything if you haven’t ever watched a second of a series (I have never seen Game of Thrones, bite me). Paying for ride-sharing apps? Get yourself a bike. Do you think you need a subscription to a gym? Be honest, how often did you go?

If you cancel three subscriptions that cost $10 a month each, you will save yourself $360 a year. Lower your phone bill by $25 a month and another $300 will be saved. My sole goal was to minimize my fixed monthly charges to a bare minimum. With the cancelation of subscriptions alone I was already able to save €1.200 a year.

However, with canceling my subscriptions I wasn’t done yet. It was not enough to get me out of financial stress. I had to limit my overall expenses. Therefore, I needed to cut down on my basic human needs expense. Continue below.

How much money do you need?

Will be updated soon!

Should you quit your job?

Will be updated soon!

How do you make some extra money?

Will be updated soon!

(2) How to Disconnect from Chaos

Next to financial stress, I hate the stress that is caused by other people. If someone has made a mistake and tries to drag me into their stress aura, I say no thank you. At all costs, I try to stay away from the stress that is created by the chaos of other people.

I came to the realization that social media and news are keeping me stressed. The algorithms and alarming headlines keep my dopamine rushes flowing at a faster pace than I can handle.  Unfortunately for us, social media- and news companies earn their money by keeping our attention. The more we stick to their website or app, the more they will earn. Nothing keeps us more engaged than danger and alarming headlines are just good ways to incite fear.

Our instincts are designed to react to immediate threats. That’s when our fight, flight, or freeze mechanism kicks in. Biological life is all about survival, making sure you have enough food, and being able to reproduce. However, in western society, most people don’t have to fight for their food and survival anymore. We get our ‘threat’s from different sources.

The number of immediate threats to our personal existence has greatly decreased. Now, we get our doses of fear through clickbait news and social media headlines. We react to news from the other side of the world as if it’s an immediate threat to our lives. In reality, we are just watching something bad happen on our mobile phones while we are in no immediate danger at all. In other words, you are stressed about something that you don’t have to be stressed about.

I noticed that when I was traveling, I didn’t feel the need to constantly check my phone. Maybe because it’s not convenient to check your phone when you’re abroad. Or maybe because I’m busy doing things that I enjoy and don’t feel the need to check my phone. In any way, I’m much less stressed and much more enjoying the world around me when I’m not constantly on my phone.

Every time I feel stressed because of other people or something that I can’t control, I ask myself some questions to snap out of that stress. Maybe these questions can help you to find your way to disconnect from the chaos. 

Do you really have to check the news every 5 minutes?

Mark Manson wrote an extensive and excellent blog post on the benefits of quitting the news

Why do care so much about what other people think about you?

If you are like me and worry too much about what other people think, The Subtle Art Of Not Giving a F*ck is a great blog post (and book) to help you care less.

How good are you really at multitasking?

I used to cram in as many things in one day as I could. It made me feel busy. I was able to show others how busy I was. Now, I only focus on one, max two, things a day. Everything else I can do is a bonus.

 The One Thing by Gary Keller, helped me to recognize the importance of focusing on one thing and helped me to understand how to implement it in my daily life.

Why are you scared to be alone?

I used to live in the middle of the City Centre. My friends were living close by. There was always something to do. And if I wasn’t doing something with my friends, I was still talking to them through WhatsApp.

When I went on my trip to explore my roots, I stayed in Thailand’s countryside for three months. I wasn’t able to communicate with my family. I wasn’t able to call my friends when I wanted because of the time zones. It was the first time in my adulthood that I really felt bored for a long period of time.

At first, I hated it. However, as time progressed I started to embrace it and enjoy it more and more. I wasn’t checking up on news that didn’t influence my life. I had the time to align all my thoughts. I learned how to be on myself. My mind was far less fired up all the time.

If you’re not able to disconnect from your life to embrace boredom, there are some other things you can try:

– Go for long walks/hikes
– Meditate/Yoga

Is this what you want, or someone else wants?

Will be updated soon!

Why do you need validation from people you don't know?

Will be updated soon!

Why are you so easily triggered?

Embrace your emotions, but don’t let them dictate your life

Do you really need to be here, at this place at this time?

Will be updated soon!

What to do if you feel stressed?
  • Change your setting
  • Go for a walk
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Read a book
  • Watch Travel Shows

(3) How to Make time for Quality Time

For the most part of my life, I have been trying to live up to the expectations of society. I was busier with what other people would think of me, than actually thinking what was important to me. My idea about what’s important in life changed when I started to travel.

In South-East Asia, I talked with people who were far less lucky and wealthy than I was. However, those people seemed to be much more satisfied with their lives than I was. How could someone who is considered poor in Western civilization seem so happy?

I realized that the people I connected with lived far less complicated and much more simple lives than I did. They did what they had to do to make a living. The rest of the time, they spend with family and friends. They were not trying to live up to expectations from society. They were not chasing any job title or a luxury car. They were just trying to take care of their family, have a good time with their friends, and not having to worry all the time.

Reflecting on my own life, I noticed that a lot of my time went into chasing some kind of status. I spent much of my time seeking the approval of others. I even spent a lot of energy on the approval of people I don’t know because of social media. Chasing extrinsic goals drained me mentally.

Sure, if you want to be famous, you might need the approval of people you have never met in real life. If you want more inner peace, I found that chasing extrinsic goals is just a waste of energy and good mood. What really matters to me is being able to spend good quality time with people I care about. Instead of chasing external goals, I started spending more time on my intrinsic values.

To spend more time on my personal values, I needed to block dedicated quality time. My trick for blocking quality time is that I make sure to block enough time. That means I don’t plan too many things in one weekend. I keep it at two, max three, different appointments per weekend. Furthermore, I think it’s easier and fun to organize something or do something together with the people you care about. For example:

Go on (weekend) trips

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Organise long dinner evenings

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Work on a project with your parent(s) or friends

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(4) How to Take Care Of Your Mental + Physical Well Being

In my 20s my life was full of drinking, partying, staying up late, skipping nights. I didn’t have a lot to worry about as my life was just cruising ahead. Things got more complicated as soon as I graduated from University. My body wasn’t working as it used to do, and my soul was in a different place than my head.

I have many holes in my memory from heavy alcohol consumption. I used to think it was a sign I had a fun night. However, if I recount the moments of regret, it’s almost always after heavy drinking nights. Not only did heavily drinking make me feel guilty, it also made me make horrible choices. I easily swapped long term options for more short term gains, such as midnight snacking and postponing my to do’s.

On top of my weight, I also felt more and more pessimistic as I had heavy hangovers. While drinking, I felt like the king of the galaxy. However, all my good intentions just evaporated the next morning. I felt down. I just wanted to be by myself, being a miserable piece of crap. For every night of drinking I had to recover for three days. In those three days I just felt down, did nothing productive which made me feel guilty. The spiral went downwards.

If I wanted to be more productive, I had to change. I didn’t totally quit with alcohol. I just stopped going to social events where I knew that one beer turned into getting totally wasted. By just drinking less alcohol I lost over 10KGs. Maintaining an acceptable weight even feels effortless. I’m not having pessimistic breakdowns anymore. And last but not least, I get more work done than ever before.

I’m nowhere near to being a fit boy. I still have weight to lose. I still have the stamina to gain. However, I find it less difficult to maintain my current weight and making sure my mind heading towards a hopeful place by making habits out of some of the things below.

Cut down (or stop) with alcohol / drugs

My life used to be upside down. I was drinking every weekday and going to bed early during the weekend. That is how students roll in the Netherlands. I don’t want to bash on that time, as I had an amazing time. Being free for the first time. However, drinking that much comes with its costs.

I gained 7 Kilo in under half a year. In my prime days, I weighed 88 KGs. According to my BMI, I should be under 72 kilograms. I don’t think I only gained weight just because of the alcohol. I also gained weight because of the bad (short term) decisions I’ve made after drinking too many beers.

As I got older, I was less and less capable of handling the hangovers. Not that I ever was a hero being hungover. But as I got older I became pessimistic after heavy drinking nights. I felt miserable for up to a week. I hated the feeling.

On my soul searching trip, I stayed with a Muslim family in Indonesia. As I was their guest, I tried to live at their standards. That meant for one month, no alcohol for me. And you know what, I didn’t even miss it. I was busy learning from a culture I didn’t know and didn’t feel the need to escape from reality through alcohol.

Now that I don’t drink regularly, I have an easier time keeping my weight in check. I don’t have pessimistic breakdowns. I get more things done. It’s not that I’ve totally quit drinking. I have set some guidelines for myself when I do drink.

p.s. I’ve found it way easier to say No at the beginning of an event than taking just one or two drinks. For me, after three or four drinks there is no stopping. Then, we go all the way. So if I don’t want to drink, it’s easier to not start at all.

Stare out of the window

I am absolutely stunned by how such a simple thing can make such a difference. Often, after staring at my screen for hours, I can feel my soul moving out of the room. My brain and my typing hands are detached from each other. The work I do doesn’t make sense anymore.

Staring out the window breaks my tunnel working process. Looking at the trees outside, seeing how birds are flying. Catching someone walking against a lamppost while staring at his screen. Such a simple thing. Such a relief.

Some people might make a schedule. For every hour of work or so, stare 5 to 10 minutes out of the window. For me, that doesn’t really work. When I’m concentrated I work. When I lack focus, I stare.

If staring doesn’t work anymore, I go for a walk.

Go for long walks

Will be updated soon!

Meditation (or Yoga)

Personally, I’m not really into Meditation or Yoga. However, I do understand why it can help people to deal with stress. For some people, meditation might help them to find a spiritual side of themselves. I see meditation more as a way to be comfortable with your thoughts. A moment for yourself to give all the chaos around you a place in your head. Naval Ravikant describes it as “The Art of Doing Nothing“.

For me, staying with Buddhist monks in a small temple in Thailand helped me a lot. Monks spend most of their days meditating, being with their own thoughts. If you are like me and come from a busy city, it will be a rather painful experience at first. However, when you start embracing your thoughts and letting things be as they are, you will start feeling much calmer.

Something that you might try is the Waking Up App by Sam Harris. It’s a meditation app recommended by people such as Tim Ferriss and Peter Attia.

If you want to explore Yoga, you might try Shalaland. A Yoga platform, founded by a friend of mine, that makes it possible for you to get instructions from qualified Yoga Instructions right from within your own room. 

Lift weights

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Sleep better

I used to think that you were cool if you only slept for a couple of hours. Like if you don’t need much sleep you get extra street creds. Maybe that’s true in the hustle culture. The truth however is, that sleep is gold.

I am still a night owl. I love to write and work late at night. However, I’ve changed my priorities. First, I was aimed at waking up at a certain time. Even if I went to bed at 2 A.M. Now, I prioritize sleeping at least 7 hours so I can start the day fresh.

For now, I’m ok with not waking up too early and working in the evenings. Maybe, I will switch to waking up early and going to bed on time somewhere in the future. But for now, I’m ok.

Figure out what works best for you. If you are your own boss, you don’t have to sit behind your desk at 9 A.M.

If you need some more help, watch Matt D’Avella’s three rules for Better Sleep.

(5) How to Figure Out What To Do In Life

Up until the moment I graduated, my life was straight forward. The goal was simple. Get good grades and graduate from University so you can get a good job. Life was easy and I didn’t really have to think for myself. Just follow the instructions, color between the lines and life will do the rest.

Well, not for me. I got the feeling that everybody around me knew exactly knew what they wanted to do after their graduation. Me, I had no clue. However, I was 100% that I didn’t want to work for a boss for the rest of my life. I wanted to do things for myself. But what those things were exactly? I couldn’t really say.

If you feel a bit lost people will tell you to follow your passion. Find your purpose and do that. If you don’t know what your goals are, people will just say to do what feels good. I found out that it’s easier said than done. What if I don’t know what my passion is? Do I even have a life purpose? To be honest, I think passion and purpose are just vague and ambiguous terms to oversimplify things.

I’m not even sure if there is a general purpose of life. I don’t know if we all have a unique purpose in life. But what I’m 100% sure about is that one day we are all going to die. When we die, our lives are nothing more than a unique set of moments we have experienced. In the end, no two lives are the same. That realization made me question why I would want to achieve things that other people want? Why not just figure out what I want to achieve and spend as much time on trying to achieve exactly that?

I figured out that it’s easier for me not to place too much emphasis on something abstract as a purpose or passion. What gave clarity to me was to determine what I didn’t want. Next I had to figure out what my values are, how I would like other people to treat me, and what I want to achieve before I die.

Below are some of the things I do to figure out what to do in life and how to keep myself on track of achieving the things I want. If you feel a bit insecure about where you want to go, maybe some of these things might help you.

What goes on in your mind? Write it down!

I found there are some strange things happening between what is going on inside my head and the words I put on paper. In my head, everything I think about sounds clear. When I want to write my thoughts out, I find it difficult to put the right words in coherent sentences.

Writing has helped me to clear my mind. By writing out my thoughts, I make my thoughts visible. With my head being more clear, I have room to expand on the thoughts that I think are interesting to explore further.

I put my thoughts in cheap A5 notebooks with blank pages. For me, the blank pages eliminate the idea of staying between the lines. I can write and sketch freely. When I don’t have a notebook at hand, I’ll send myself a text message.

Writing with pen and paper makes a big difference. You should try it.

For more insights about the benefits of Journaling, watch this video.

Do you know what your ideas look like?

Will be updated soon!

Ask yourself what life is all about

A friend of mine, Roel,  suffered from a burn-out. He took this moment in his life to make a change. Instead of searching for a new job, he worked on a project that has been on his mind for a long time. His own card game.

Click here to buy your pack of Scenario Cards that will help you to figure out what is important in life for you and the people around you.

Full Disclosure:  this is an affiliate link. I’ve helped Roel with creating videos for his Kickstarter Campaign. Through this link and videos, we help each other to become our own boss.

Write down your personal values

Will be updated soon!

Start following your curiosity

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Take a peek inside different people's lifestyles

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How you can change the world

Will be updated soon!

Now, pick something that sparked your interest and start now. Escaping the rat race is more about being confident with who you are and what you want than comparing yourself with others. The less you feel the need to compare, the better. If you start working on just one thing that sparked your interest, the domino’s will start to click.

I will continue with practical tips on how you can get new inpiration by opening yourself up to different cultures and lifestyles in the next step: Be Open: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone.

Explore Living Like a FOCCER





Disclaimer: this is a document with a life and will of its own. Over time, the information you will find on "How To Live Like a FOCCER" might change (most probably will). The intention is not to create as many blog posts as possible. The intention is to update this blog to make it even better. So please feel free to comment below what helped you, what did not help you, or what you miss.

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Hi, I'm Weeri. I love to help people to turn their ideas intro reality.


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