Improve Your Life #26: Make a List of Your Interests

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What are you interested in? This seems like a simple question but as you try to list all things you are interested in you will see that there are many more items than you thought possible. Your interests vary in intensity. Some may be fresh and and you are actively engaged with them daily, others are a distant echo from the past.

Your interests fall into different categories ranging from family to career and from entertainment to fitness. Listing the things you are interested in will help you choose what to focus on when planning different parts of your life. When you create the list you will also find the items that you are no longer interested in. Letting go of those will give you more time to for the rest. Every time you take up something new you will have to drop something else and making conscious choices in this area will free some of your mental resources.

The reality is that if you follow the advice in this blog[] and other places, then you try to get at least 8 hour of sleep every day. If you have a day job another 8 hours goes there and you are left with 8 hours of “free” time. The numbers above should make it blindingly obvious why you would need to work a job that you are interested in and really love to do.


Making money is a hobby that will complement any other hobbies you have, beautifully. ~~Scott Alexander

This 16-hour block of waking time is your budget for having fun and interesting stuff to do. So choose carefully. Another aspect to consider is that to be any good at anything you need to spend several thousand hours at it. However you can play poker with friends once a month for few hours and have great time. and say that you are seriously interested in poker. You might not win any tournaments but you would choose that activity over other options.

I spend 2 to 3 weeks every year snowboarding. My time on the board may be something around 50 to 80 hours per year and snowboarding is my favourite winter activity. If I would want to get really good at snowboarding I would need to increase my time on the board tenfold (and accept broken bones now and then).

So. make a choice what do you want to do for fun every once in a while and if there’s something you would like to get pretty good at. Take some time, 40 minutes to an hour should be enough and create your list of interests. Decide what you want to spend more time on and what you should cross off and mark “some day”.

To give you something to start from here is an incomplete list of areas of interest with some examples:

Health and fitness
Hiking and camping

Modern art

Metal music

Self development
Life hacks
Building willpower

Business and career
Public speaking

Home improvement

The list should go on and on but many items on it are just a fleeting interest that may be gone when you revise your interests in a year or so. When I was writing this post and going through my list from year ago I found many things that I need to cross off. Yes, these things are really interesting, but I just do not have the time to get anywhere with those. I would rather free the mental slot allocated to that activity and have less clutter in my mind.

Now, sit down and write a list of your interests.


Image: Kaunertal Gletcher by Priit Kallas
Image: Money by Andrew Magill

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2 Responses

  1. May 19, 2013

    […] Improve Your Life #26: Make a List of Your Interests […]

  2. August 1, 2013

    […] do that list the things that you are interested in. Check out this post Improve Your Life #26: Make a List of Your Interests. And also make sure you know what’s important to you. (Read What are the Important Things in […]

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