From madness comes designs of greatness

DESIGN your life. It sounds intriguing, right? It's a topical conversation gaining wide interest. We live life at full speed like never before.

We hit road blocks, dodge metaphorical bullets and deal with people we'd rather sidestep on a regular basis. Sometimes, the only way we get through the madness is by just getting it all - work, family life, errands, commitments - done without thought.

But there comes a point, be it tragedy, mental and physical exhaustion, ill health or personal intervention, when you just need to stop and reassess.

The thought of a pared-down life sounds appealing. A desire to wipe the slate clean. You declutter your thoughts, your goals, your spaces, your friends, in accordance with what you want.

You rearrange the furniture in your life and find your own feng shui; edit space, consumption and people that litter your life.

Most importantly, you colour in the bits that make you happy and realign your choices and decisions with your values. This is called designing your life.

It's a concept trumpeted by leading international graphic designer Vince Frost, who had a moment of revelation when he hit rock bottom - overweight, drinking too much, eating the wrong foods and not taking the time to rest - only to insufficiently recharge and face his own battles again.

He began to apply design principles he used at work to his own life and found his flow: "I am more reflective, more alive to my senses, more in touch with the people around me and more aware of my value. In short, I am happier."

In his new book Design Your Life, he suggests ways to turn problems into opportunities and redesign parts of our lives.

And it starts at home, which he describes as our sanctuary. Our home is a blank canvas we can use to illustrate our life stories. It reflects our own journeys and where we've been.

Like design, it is a process of maturing, moving around, figuring out what you want and then expressing it. One of my favourite pieces of advice was: create a life that enables you to do the things you want to do instead of doing what is important to you after work is done.

Frost says designing is about redesigning and creating a new way to see. Right now I am struggling to see my desk amid the paper chaos, empty coffee mugs and 748 pens. Heck, it needs a Hazmat sign. I'm off to find my flow.


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