Monday, 4 January 2016

What's a Life Redesign?

“Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.”
Charles Eames
I first heard the term ‘life redesign’ while reading an article on The Guardian. I was searching for articles on happiness, and I stumbled upon this Happiness by Design piece.

Katie McCroy wrote about how she decided her life was in need of a significant change. So, she moved from London to Copenhagen, the so-called happiest city in the world. She titles the article ‘How to design your life for happiness’.

Rather than focusing on one thing in your life – like happiness – a redesign looks at whole areas and your whole life, and how changing these areas or aspects can in the end increase your happiness.  For McCroy, that was moving out of the UK and starting her life over in Copenhagen.

Denmark is purportedly the happiest country in the world. The majority of the population cite social equality as the most important indicator of happiness in the country, but this didn’t happen by accident. An equal society was designed and built.

McCroy describes life redesigns as using creativity to solve problems and add value. She would break down problem areas and use innovation to find a solution. For McCroy, there remains a level of prototype and testing in her new life in Denmark, but so far she has more good than bad days.

The idea of a redesign really struck me as the best and most efficient way for me to tackle happiness while also including the mental health aspect of my own project. I didn't want anything dramatic like moving to a new country or even a new city. But I figured that with small steps, I could work my way towards happiness while still based in Dublin.

The Oxford English Dictionary describes a redesign in the following way;
“Design (something) again or in a different way.”
Happiness by design gives control back to the designer; to me. As someone who loves planners, schedules and to-do lists the thought of having control appealed to me. Design thinking is really a way of applying processes to your whole life in the way that schedules and planning allows, like my ten resolutions aim to do. So with my resolutions and the tasks I have attached to them I hope to redesign my life, starting with Be Authentic this January.

In The Great Life Redesign, Caroline Cameron states that “all you need is right there within you.” It's inspiring to think of your future, and what you need to take yourself in the right direction can be controlled and redesigned by yourself. She says that for a redesign, you must be excited by the challenge of change, be disciplined and step outside your comfort zone. It's not always going to be easy. And without a massive step like McCroy did when she moved country, it will be a slow progress. But the next ten months are exciting.

“Life redesigns never actually end”. 

Well, I’ll give it ten months to start. 

Find out more about The Romeo Project here.

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