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How to Live Mini-Adventures on a Small Budget

How to Live Mini-Adventures on a Small Budget
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    Believe it or not, having life adventures is not in the exclusive realm of eccentric billionaires and jet-setting entrepreneurs. Life adventures don’t even require a lot of time, so you don’t need to quit your job or cash in sick days. Having adventures is more about attitude and a skill than resources.

    What is an Adventure?

    Adventures don’t have to be African safari’s, base jumping or flying around the world. The best way to have more fun in life is to reframe what you feel an adventure is. My definition would be something enjoyable, unique and a departure from your routine.

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    With a simple definition like that, you can start having mini-adventures. They may not amazing tales you can tell over a campfire later, but they can make life a lot more interesting. Better yet it won’t break your bank (or your neck!) to go on them.

    Adventures are About Randomness

    The core of any adventure is that it is unexpected. Injecting randomness to your daily life is an easy way to start making it more interesting. This means doing things you wouldn’t normally do. Meeting people you would otherwise ignore. Saying yes to unknown opportunities.

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    Here are some tips to get you started in having mini-adventures:

    1. Turn Off Expectations – Your routine is easy to calculate. It is familiar. Adventures are fun precisely because they are impossible to calculate and anything but familiar. If you start trying new things without looking for results you can have more fun.
    2. Force Yourself to Try New Things – You aren’t designed to seek novelty. Fear of the unknown is usually a much stronger drive than curiosity. Suppress those fears and drag yourself to try new things. It won’t be easy, but once you cross the first threshold you may discover something you love.
    3. Sign Up For Organizations – Organizations are an easy way to try something new. They are easy to seek out, offer new experiences and are usually filled with other uncertain people who can reassure you. Toastmasters, cooking classes, dancing, martial arts and workshops can all offer you a quick way to try something new.
    4. Develop an Interest in People – I haven’t seen scientific research on this, but it seems to me that extroverts have more adventures than introverts. My guess would be that extroverts naturally meet more people and develop an interest in them. A side-effect of meeting new people is you get exposed to new opportunities.
    5. Keep a Failure Log – Keep a record of your worst failures and humilations. If you aren’t adding at least one or two a month, you simply aren’t trying hard enough. Lower your expectations to the point where you intend to feel stupid.
    6. To-Try Lists – I’m a fan of lists. To-do lists can keep your tasks organized. Why not keep a to-try list to store fun activities? You can use it to keep track of any interests that pop up but you currently don’t have time to explore.
    7. Make Time – Living life requires time. If you are currently feeling overwhelmed by tasks, having adventures may seem frivolous. I suggest reading The 4-Hour Workweek if you are interested in finding ways to steal more time to have adventures.
    8. Say Yes – There are many reasons to say no. But occasionally you need to say yes. You need to say yes to things that, at first, appear to have little value. Don’t commit your whole life, just offer to try something out.
    9. Unknowledge is More Important – Nassim Nicholas Taleb makes the case in The Black Swan that what we don’t know plays a much bigger role in our lives than what we do. This means we tend to poor at judging events in the future and retroactively explain unusual events. All the more reason to expose yourself to new adventures. Be random, because you probably aren’t good at predicting which will turn out good anyhow.
    10. Courage is Mastery, Not Absence, of Fear – Fear is what keeps you back, not a lack of time or money. It’s fear that you will look like a fool, fail miserably or waste your time. The fear intensifies as you approach a decision. Courage is your ability to decide in spite of worry, not in absence of it.
    11. Plan Ahead – Adventures require work. Although a rare percentage of people can spontaneously have an adventure, they aren’t most of us. You are probably like myself, bound by a routine that needs structure to break out of. You can’t simply leave your job and try something new for a day on a whim. So plan ahead and schedule it in.

    Start a New Challenge Today

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    It doesn’t take a lot of work to make life more fun. But if you keep ignoring the question and push it aside, it will never get answered. There are already too many urgent issues that require your attention. Instead you need to act now.

    • Step One – Pick one new thing you would like to try. This could be an organization, hobby, activity, concert, food, sport or language. It can be huge or it can be small. Just pick one and don’t worry if it is best.
    • Step Two – Find a way to insert this new activity into your next month. For organizations and classes this can be easy. Just find one that meets once a week and commit for thirty days. For other activities, you may need to make your own schedule.
    • Step Three – Follow through. Try it out. The worst that can happen is you’ve found one thing you don’t like. But you may discover something new and exciting to fill your life.

    Go ahead, write your plan here in the comments or the forums and you can share your ideas with other adventurers.

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    More by this author

    Scott H Young

    Scott is obsessed with personal development. For the last ten years, he's been experimenting to find out how to learn and think better.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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