I first made a version of this chart seven years ago today. It’s worth a re-up.

The meaning of this chart is:

  • Everything you do should be justified either by being inherently enjoyable, or by being important for some other purpose. Absolutely minimize activities that satisfy neither of these criteria: things that are neither fun nor important. (This seems obvious, but think of how often it’s violated: online flame wars, doomscrolling and general overconsumption of news, long sob stories about trivial inconveniences, endless stewing over long-ago wrongs, etc.)
  • Spend the vast majority of your time on things that are both enjoyable and important, such as (hopefully) career and family. Some time on chores, taxes, etc. is unavoidable. Some time on games and diversions is fine. But both should be small relative to the big, meaningful, deeply rewarding things.

(And just to anticipate one reaction: if you enjoy arguments on the Internet, then they can go under “fun and games”.)

It’s not a complete guide to life, but it’s important and something I apply often.

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3 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:43 PM

I like the chart and share the sentiment of spending more time on fun & important things, but the percentages seem unattainable to me. I recently noticed how large part of my life I spend on 'maintenance': cooking, eating, cleaning, laundry, showering, sleeping, etc. But maybe this means I should focus on making these activities more fun!

Well for what it's worth, these percentages are rough guesses based on gut feel, rather than being based on any kind of measurement or even quantitative estimation. Consider them “conceptual”/illustrative.

You can minimize cooking by prioritizing meals that are simple to prepare (e.g., single-serving frozen vegetables that you place directly in the microwave and steam right in the bag). If you can afford it, you can pay other people to do cleaning and laundry for you (and more people ought to do this than currently do, I suspect). Etc.

Sleep is different: it is ~1/3 of your life, and it is crucial for health. Consider this a guide to waking hours. And note that it is as much about energy as it is about time.

I am deeply, truly envious that you are able to put "career" in the Yes column for "does it make me happy".  Most people can't. My chart looks more like 50% in important, happy and 40% in important, unhappy, merely by the necessity of making a living.
That 0% in the bottom right corner might be the most important part of the chart, though - getting that number down improves your life for no cost, and a lot of people seem to have numbers there in double digits.