How to Design Your Life Around Giving Back

Turns out, you don't need a superpower to find time to give back to those in need.

Black Salmon / Shutterstock
Black Salmon / Shutterstock

It’s probably safe to say that a lot of us have a desire to give back. We would love to be of service to those who could use our help, we’d love to be able to give freely to charities and nonprofits in support of important and meaningful causes, and we’d love to help make the world a better place in some way.

But how many people, despite their desires to help out, are limited with what they can give because of work schedules, family schedules, financial limitations, or other restrictions? 

There’s a good chance you are one of these people!

So how are the people who are able to give so much able to do so? What do they have that allows them the freedom to participate in giving back? 

As a corporate dropout-turned entrepreneur, I purposefully structured my company in a way that would allow me to never have set hours – I can work as much or as little as I want to, and I can do it at any time of the day or during the week that I want to. Despite running a real estate investing business, freelance writing, business consulting, and freelancing as a flight instructor, I’m still able to dedicate as much time as I want to give back.

The two primary things I did to help me accomplish this have been:

Much of your ability to design a life around giving back will depend on your personal situation, but here are some additional ways that to get you closer to a place where it’s more feasible:

1.      Work/life balance: Many companies now offer work/life balance options; whether it’s the ability to work from home, the option for creative work schedules that allow for extra days off, more vacation time, or generally looser schedule requirements — all of these help with adding more free time to your schedule. Even if your company doesn’t offer any of these, sometimes work/life balance is as much a mindset as it is a logistic. Learning to better compartmentalize your work and personal lives can also open up more space to bring in new activities.

2.      Passive income: Passive income is considered to be income that you don’t have to work for. While there’s a little more to how that really works, the idea is accurate — you don’t need to actively participate in something to receive income from it. For example, if you deposit money somewhere you receive interest, that interest is passive income — you don’t have to work for that money or actively participate in anything to receive it. To receive greater amounts of passive income, various business and investing strategies can be implemented to make the income as passive as possible. The more passive income you have, the less you have to spend time working for money, so the more flexibility you have to spend your time helping others instead.

3.      Tap into what’s important: While work/life balance and passive income are more logistical, as important as logistics is your mindset. If you’re able to really understand where your priorities lie, you will be in a much clearer position to make them happen. So then, of course, it becomes about understanding why giving back is so important and why the particular way in which you are giving back is so meaningful for you. When you can really feel that connection, prioritizing it will become notably easier.

4.      Realize that giving back will help you get more: It’s easy to have a long to-do list for ourselves that causes us to not have any leftover time that can be used to give back. It may seem that if we take the time to give back in some way, we will be left with unfinished responsibilities. While this seems like how it would work, it really doesn’t work like that. Have you ever heard of the concept of receiving more by giving more? When you take time to give back, it increases your emotional health and well-being in a way that can actually let you more efficiently accomplish those to-do lists. Giving back can increase your overall quality of life in ways like: increasing your happiness level, decreasing your blood pressure and depression, and keeping your stress levels down. Then as you can imagine, when you’re experiencing those feelings, the things you do in life become more graceful and with significantly more ease. And then depending on your spiritual beliefs, there has been much said about the energetic of giving and how doing so can actually invite abundance back into your own life. In some belief systems, it could be considered karmic.

5.      Come from a place of compassion: Speaking of overall happiness, happiness is no doubt increased when we exercise compassion for others. When we are in less judgment and in more loving and acceptance of others, everyone benefits. Know that others really do need help and that you really can help them. Make compassion a priority. We are nothing without gratitude and compassion, and we are all connected. We have to help each other. When someone can truly understand that and appreciate it, it makes giving back that much of an easier, and obvious, task.

When we give back, everyone benefits; the people we are giving to, ourselves, and everyone around us because of our refreshed and positive energy. Life obviously comes with logistical challenges around our need to make money and support ourselves, but when we can find ways to balance those needs with the need and desire to truly give back, our entire world begins to change for the better. 

Just remember — every single person on the planet is working with the same number of hours every day. You aren’t the only person who is strapped for time. The question is — are you willing to take control of your schedule so that you can make giving back a priority?

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