Diversify Your Habits, Enrich Your Life
Written by Jessica Hatch + Edited by Chelsea DuDeVoire
Much like a successful stock portfolio, we live our best personal and professional lives when we diversify our time and habits. In doing so, we stimulate our intellects, challenge our bodies, and expand our skill sets. As a result, we become stronger.
Diversifying my life has led to positive outcomes for me in so many ways. Here are five examples of doing so that just might work for you, too:
1. Diversify your client base.
As a freelance editor, I enjoy providing practical feedback that will help authors revise and find a market for their books. With that said, in the early days of my career, the chances for getting hired for these projects was few and far between. To reduce my risk of quickly plowing through the money I’d saved up in the process, I fell back on other skill sets I had (like proofreading and content marketing).
To diversify your client base, simply take some time to assess the variety of skills you have, and figure out a way to sell those skills to different types of clients. Maybe your ability to write fictional pieces can translate to copywriting for social media or editing a website for a local small business. This process is applicable for all of you hustlin' Babes who aren’t your own bosses (yet!) You just might have to think outside the box a bit in order to get there.
2. Diversify your calendar.
Yes, make time for your significant other and besties, but also pencil-in a coffee date with that networking acquaintance you’ve been meaning to chat with. I personally have a list of contacts I reach out to on a rotating basis. These are the mentors and advisers who have had an impact on my life, but - whether due to distance or diverging lives - aren’t in my regular circles anymore.
By reaching out to these people from time to time, I’ve gotten excellent (free) advice, job offers, work referrals, and of course, enriching conversation. Going outside of your social comfort zone will open doors that you didn't even know existed.
3. Diversify your finances.
Still clinging onto those linked checking/savings accounts you opened in high school? To reduce financial risk, you should not put all of your eggs in one basket. By choosing different vehicles for different financial goals, you can reach success faster, and reduce your risk of losing everything, of downsizing, and of resorting to a bear market.
Be sure that each of your accounts has a functional purpose, though. For example, I have an index fund via Acorns App, which I’ve specifically earmarked for saving a down-payment on a house within the next five years. If I had the account just for the sake of having it, though, it would likely not be worth the capital gains taxes I must pay when I withdraw funds in the future.
4. Diversify your workout routine.
There's a scene in Dodgeball where the audience is introduced to the movie's main characters, including nerdy, timid Gordon (played by Stephen Root of 'Office Space' fame.) Gordon explains a convoluted workout routine to Vince Vaughan’s character and says, "Y’know, keep my body guessing!"
While this is played for laughs, it's true. Fitness experts say that we should emphasize strength, endurance, and flexibility in our workouts. If you're a consistent runner, try stopping every mile or so for some push-ups and lunges. If you only ever do yoga, try swimming to build muscle. You'll be able to move for longer periods of time, and your body will thank you in the long run. No pun intended.
5. Diversify your media choices.
I think this is incredibly important in 2017. From Facebook’s algorithms to having a cable channel for every taste, so much of our world happens in a vacuum. If you don't purposely explore alternate methods of thought, your perspective is unlikely to grow. To be fully informed, get your news from publications you normally wouldn't. Read international newspapers like The Guardian, BBC, and Al-Jazeera, for an outsider’s perspective on American affairs. Search for points and counterpoints on issues you'd like to know more about. It'll help you think critically and creatively, and open your mind to new ways of thinking.
Of course, this is just a handful of ways to step outside your comfort zone. The beautiful part about it? There are millions more! See: writing a novel, trying a capsule wardrobe, or learning a foreign language.
In the words of fellow BWH, Kristen Wiig,
“When you go out of your comfort zone and it works, there’s nothing more satisfying.”
Though she could see the Chrysler Building from her desk at St. Martin’s Press, Jessica Hatch is now a professional freelance editor based in Jacksonville, Florida, where the view of the Main Library isn’t bad either. She specializes in providing practical revisions and marketable advice to short story writers and authors of book-length works. In addition to being a professional writer and editor, Jessica is a violinist, avid yogi, and whiskey enthusiast. Get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*This article is not affiliated with any of the links mentioned.