However satisfied you are with the quality of your life right now, you can always learn new ways to get even more value for your own benefit and to benefit others. You don’t have to make massive changes to your life to reap the rewards; small changes can lead to big improvements over time.
By taking small actions every day you will really see huge differences in your life. Managing your life better can lead to you having more time to do the things you love and becoming more efficient and productive.
The five ways I’ve listed have been a significant resource to me in my own life, and even though you may be familiar with the concept of some or all of them, actually committing to stick to them will really improve your life too!
Goal setting is crucial, as it allows you to discover what you want out of life! By setting goals you can see what you really want to achieve and then you can use those goals to remind yourself on a daily basis of what is meaningful in your life, and what you need to be doing regularly to achieve those goals. By having your goals written down and looking at them every single day, you will manage your time better, and see clearly the steps you need to take to achieve those goals.
Commit to writing down your goals and using them to develop a plan of action in order to accomplish them.
You may have such a busy life with your work, family and other commitments that it can seem impossible to take time for yourself. A connected issue is that when very busy people have free time, they feel guilty about doing something for themselves. A positive way to make sure that you are ready to use your free time to advantage is to organise it in advance.
Book in an hour for yourself. Write it in your diary. If you haven’t got a diary then I suggest you buy one as soon as possible! Or use one of the many online facilities.
Treat the time you book for yourself as a serious appointment and don’t cancel it just because there is an opportunity for you to do some extra work or help someone else. The danger here is that if you never give yourself time to do what you need to do, then you will always be chasing something and never feel satisfied.
I am not talking only about having time to enjoy yourself by going out or pursuing hobbies, I am saying that you need to manage your time so that you are doing the basic things that you need to do to be happy. This is going to vary from individual to individual. For some people, this may be having a clean house or making sure that they keep in touch with their close relatives and friends.
Ensuring you take enough time for yourself to at least do the basics of what you need to do, is going to make you feel you’re successful and in control of your life.
Commit to booking yourself for a specific amount of time to do something that’s important for you, and stick to it!
Design Your Life Puzzle
Designing your life puzzle means firstly evaluating your life and finding out how you are spending your time, and secondly how you feel about that, so that thirdly you can clarify what changes you need to make in order to feel you are living the life you want. Seeing your life as a jigsaw puzzle with interlocking pieces is a useful visual tool.
After you take the first step it will become clearer to you, and you will see which parts of your life need attention. Knowing your priorities will help you make decisions which are authentic and congruent, decisions which have come from you yourself and have been made thoughtfully and purposefully. You may need to ‘book yourself’ in order to get the time you need to design your own life puzzle, but don’t let that stop you!
Commit to taking the time you need to design your life puzzle.
Get Up Earlier
Getting out of bed on time is a huge challenge for a lot of people so getting out of bed earlier then they ‘should’ may seem just too much to ask. You will find that getting out of bed forty five minutes earlier than you normally do will improve your whole day. During that time, you can think about what you need to do for that day and allow yourself the time to be totally prepared.
Of course it doesn’t have to be 45 minutes, it can be more or less, but I’ve experimented with different times and forty five minutes seems to be enough time to make a real difference to your day. You can prepare yourself for your day and get yourself ready to do the best you can. You will be more productive and it will open up time for you to do other things. Think how good you would feel about yourself if you pledge to follow that plan through!
Commit to going to bed earlier and getting out of bed forty five minutes earlier than you usually do.
Help Someone Else
Your first response to this may be ‘How is this going to make my life any better?’ Helping other people does enhance our lives, and I’ve no doubt that some of you already know that because you practice helping others on a regular basis. Giving up your time for someone else, or for a good cause, will improve your life by bringing real value and impact, and giving you a sense of purpose.
You don’t have to do something huge, you don’t have to spend lots of money, and if you don’t know where to start, you can just ask a few people how you could help them. Maybe someone has asked for help in the past, and you felt you didn’t have the time or the inclination? Volunteer somewhere or pick up some litter, share some information you feel is valuable or take out a neighbor’s trash. Even the smallest helpful action carried out willingly to aid another is hugely significant. Just do something positive.
Commit to helping someone or doing something helpful and you’ll find you will also be helping yourself.
Rhydian Fairfax is a Life Coach and founder of the personal development company Thought Support. He lives and works in Cardiff, UK, and is passionate about helping others to lead a meaningful life.