Tim Ferriss writes about (and profits handsomely from) the idea of lifestyle design, applicable for both W-2 types and 1099ers. The basic idea is that you can make a living and pursue your interests and dreams at the same time. Freelancers, whose incomes fluctuate and who don’t get 401(k)s, may be more aware than other workers that postponing grand plans until retirement could be a dangerous and depressing game. Also working in their favor is that they’re generally more in control of their workflow and schedules. Ferriss’ blog has his own version of the ubiquitous budget calculator, which we all know is a useful way to figure out how much discretionary income we’ve got for new mittens or a visit to a decent restaurant. The novel part comes in when you start thinking about the bigger, costlier goals that just never seem to fit in with your budget and lifestyle. On his Ideal Lifestyle Costing page, he starts you off with a brainstorming exercise:

Create two timelines—six months and twelve months—and list up to five things you dream of having (including, but not limited to, material wants: house, car, clothing, etc.), being (be a great cook, be fluent in Chinese, etc.), and doing (visiting Thailand, tracing your roots overseas, racing ostriches, etc.), in that order.

Then check out the user-friendly calculators and worksheets there. By incorporating your dreams into your daily or monthly budget, you’ll find that learning Japanese or how to make sushi doesn’t require a second job. It can re-orient your thinking to incorporate those “some day” dreams into manageable projects. Mr. Ferriss, in addition to be a writer and entrepreneur, has turned himself into a multilingual champion tango dancer.