Today more and more people feel like they are constantly running behind. We’re getting things done but new tasks pile up just as easily and we’re just getting by. We have a list of things we want to accomplish daily, but always overestimate the time we think we have for those tasks. We know “time flies”, but are always surprised when it does, “Is it already that late?”.
And because time flies, we need to think more carefully about how we spend that time, how we fill the minutes and hours of our day. And no, it’s not so bad to be busy and ambitious, but it is bad when you always feel you’re just getting by.
Wouldn’t it be great to feel more in control of your time. To see your life before you instead of being caught up in the treadmill. I always keep thinking about how I spend my time wisely, how to improve my work time, how to raise my kids time, the quality time with my wife, friends and time in solitude.
I want to feel like time is in abundance, because life is too precious to see it flash before your eyes. Sometimes people have to be confronted with the mortality of life before they wake up and realise they actually want to change things for the better.
Here are the keys to improve your time and your life completely:
First Thing First, Unplug
First thing you do before you go to bed is turn your mobile phone on airplane mode, so you don’t see or hear any messages when you wake up. Keep it on airplane mode when you wake up. Don’t open up your computer or iPad and spend some time in solitude without distraction of email and Facebook. Just unplug.
This will already give you a feeling of control of your time, because you aren’t surrendered to the demands of email and absorbed by all the people who want your attention on the internet.
Now take out a pen and paper or journal…
Start a journal. Pour yourself some tea and take 5 to 10 minutes a day to write down all the thoughts that keep you busy. Just write it down. Don’t think quality or perfection, nobody has to read it but you, just throw it out on paper. It gives you a road map of your brain, how you think, how you fill your days and what keeps you occupied. By writing things down you become aware of what you are thinking, how you are doing and how you can improve your life.
You can start asking yourself important questions that will change the way you live (more on this below).
Create a Not-To-Do List.
Create a section in your journal and write down all the things you do that seem important but are really not. Be more in control of your time by letting go of things that are not crucially important to the quality of your life. Stop watching TV, spending time with people who drain you down, spending time on social media, surfing online and getting distracted, etc. Where and when do you waste time?
Are you doing things just to prove others that you are not a quitter, but deep down inside you know better? Listen to your heart, be true to yourself and stop doing the things that don’t feel good. Be aware of how you use your time and reduce, stop, quit, disconnect, remove and eliminate. Write it down on your not-to-do list.
Focus on The Vital Few
Choose what YOU want and let go of what other wants. The ego wants everything others have, what you don’t have and more. Don’t get caught up what others have and what keeps them busy. Don’t do things because they look cool from the outside or because you think it fits the cool lifestyle. Do things not just for the end result (it won’t last), but choose things you want to do everyday in and out (that will last).
Choose only what is really important to you. If you choose everything, you will end up with a whole lot of nothing. Focus on the vital few instead of the trivial many.
Ask Yourself Questions
Ask yourself questions on a daily or weekly basis, that you can write in your journal.
– What two things do I want to add to my daily routine?
– What two things do I want to eliminate from my daily routine?
– What fun things would I like to do every week?
– How would my perfect day look like?
– What would I like to stop doing right now?
– What does happiness mean to me? (Be precise)
Just by asking yourself these kind of questions on a regular basis, things become clearer than ever and you can change your routine, your day, your week and life one step at a time. Don’t think like “I can’t do that because…” Just think outside of the box, think larger, without limitations and write down how you can change the things that are holding you back. Now act on it.
Everyday write down three things in your journal you are grateful for to appreciate the big and small things in life. People who practice daily gratitude are happier people. For example, you can write down your grateful for your delicious cappuccino, that big incredible sun out there and your inexhaustible creativity.
Effectiveness over Efficiency
Efficiency is doing things right and effectiveness is doing the right things. Make sure you’re doing the right things first before you start doing things efficiently. If you’re choosing the wrong things (or unnecessary things) and you’re doing them efficiently you’re still not moving forward.
Unplugging from the internet will able you to look at things from a distance and think more clearly. You’ll think more effectively on what is really important, what matters most, instead of trying to work as fast as you can and do a lot of things really efficiently. Effectiveness rules.
Read on regular basis. Read non-fiction books on effectivity, parenting, spirituality and happiness. Reading gives you new invaluable insights on how to improve your life. It will expand your perception and keeps you growing, developing, flourishing and increasing your wisdom.
Make sure you write down what fun things you love to do on a regular basis. Be specific. Have dinner with friends on Saturday night. Go for a run with son on Sunday morning. Go ice skating with family on Friday afternoon. Play guitar and sing with daughter today. Go for walks with my wife in the morning. Then write them down in your agenda. It’s easy to get caught up in your to-do-list, so plan the fun stuff first, it’s way more important.
Wake Up Early
Waking up early has done it for me for years. I used to wake up at 5.00 am, at the moment I wake up at 5.30 am. I want to get at least 6,5 hours of sleep. I have to work late a few days a week, so other days I go to bed at 11.00 pm and wake up early the next day. You can use this extra time to work on some of your most important tasks for the day, to meditate, write in your journal or exercise. This time can be a life changer.
Shift Your Thinking
And then there’s the daily grind. The boring mundane parts of everyday life. These have a lot to do with the way you look at things. As Wayne Dyer put it “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change”.
Recently I followed the advice of a Bruce Lee quote “Take everyday opportunities to exercise”. I used to take my kids to school by car, but nowadays I walk the kids to school, walk them to their soccer games, dancing lessons. I walk to buy groceries, etc. Seeing these things as a good daily exercise that is good for our health and physical wellbeing, it becomes fun, exciting and it actually feels liberating. Just a shift in your thinking and you can change things with great effect.
Start your journal today!
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