Technology, the Internet, and other trappings of modern life have changed the pace of our everyday existence. And for many of us, if we are not careful, life will often feel more hectic and less fulfilling than it used to be before our iPhones came along and gave us instant access to constant distraction.
Thankfully, if we take a page from Kurt Vonnegut - who famously said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things” - we can take small steps that cumulatively improve our quality of life.
Here are 30 such ideas that I believe can improve your quality of life if done regularly. Even better, they won’t break the bank or require you to reinvent your life in order to do them.
Disclaimer - Many of these are pretty obvious. But don't let that stop you from taking the time to read on. What I wanted to do here is just give you some "food for thought" and help you to consider the kind of things you probably know you should be doing more of. We all need a reminder at times - (me included) and I have done this list as much for me as I have for you. I hope you enjoy them...
(1) Get More Fresh Air
It is understandably hard if you live your life - work and play - indoors, but it is super important to get out and be in nature. Literally. Fresh air is much more uplifting and oxygen-rich than stale, recycled air. Soaking in natural sunlight also provides the intake of Vitamin D. Vitamin D has positive effects on bone growth and maintenance, as well as your mood. Ever noticed when you spend a few moments in the garden and take a moment to appreciate nature how quickly your mood can change? Yea me too. So do it more often!
Psychologically, leaving your desk or room to go outside provides a real “break” from what you are doing, which can be especially helpful if your task is stressful or tedious. Other tips on this list can be done outside, making it a good way to transition between activities.
Schedule little “fresh air” breaks during the work day, eat lunch outside if weather permitting, or commit to incorporate more walking outside in your everyday commute if it makes sense. I work from home the majority of the time and my commute is about 100 yards. So for me, it’s committing to dog walks and going out on my bike or skateboard that make the most sense.
You’d be surprised at how much impact a simple routine like stepping outside can have when it comes to improving your mood.
(2) Get Regular Exercise or At Least Just Move More
A sedentary lifestyle (sitting on your backside) has numerous detrimental effects, not only in terms of our overall physical well being, but mentally. Regular movement and exercise promotes heart health and strengthens the body and immune system - all of which compound over time to help us stave off cardiovascular and other diseases. What's more, it keeps us more flexible, agile, and mobile. A stiff body is not the answer to a high quality of life and is something I am noticing much more at 37...
Gotta get those deep stretches in!
Exercise also pumps up our endorphins - our “feel good” hormones - which has an immediate uplifting effect and helps us to concentrate, stay alert and focused, and enhances our cognitive abilities. It is also an effective way to handle stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues since physical activity also decreases the level of cortisol - one of our “stress” hormones” - in the body.
(3) Put Lots Of Good Things Into Your Body
The easy availability of fast food and premade, “instant” meals makes it way too easy to choose convenience over eating healthy. And I have to admit I know this all too well
Sadly, in many instances, heavily processed, nutrient scarce foods tend to also be cheaper than fresh ingredients and quality produce. Processed foods contain an inordinate amount of preservatives, artificial flavouring, and other chemicals that have been shown to cause side effects such as headaches and indigestion, as well as serious diseases such as cancer.
Our bodies get the most out of nutrient-rich, natural food, which in turn keeps us feeling more energised, stronger, and less prone to fatigue and illness. We also feel better mentally when we feel nourished. It’s hard to stay upbeat when your diet makes you feel groggy and sick all the time.
Take the time to make more home-cooked meals. Instead of heading straight to the junk aisles, try to purchase more items from the fresh produce section. Choose whole grains over processed, and make an effort to cut your intake of refined sugar. White, refined sugar is not only linked to obesity but anyone who has experienced a “sugar crash” knows how it can affect the body. Experiments and studies have shown that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine, and it has been shown to cause cognitive deficiencies in rats (compared to rats who are not fed refined sugar).
(4) Get A Dog
Ok, so this idea is the only one (as far as I’m concerned) that is very subjective. Obviously owning a dog is not for everyone and it also takes a lot of work and it’s a huge commitment. But I have to list it, as my dogs, Boss & Bear, have drastically improved my quality of life. I can not tell you the joy they bring me - and not to mention the exercise!
Between their excitement when you walk through the door and their enthusiasm for snuggling, it’s hard not to feel the love from dogs.
Owning a dog is also a great way to learn responsibility. Caring for your canine companion is a big commitment – one that may last a decade or longer – that forces you to be dependable, structured and sensible. After all, your dog depends on you for survival! I got my first dog Boss 10 years ago and I can tell you for sure, I needed to learn a bit of responsibility at that time
It worked - somewhat.
Oh and while you're here and before I forget... meet Bear. He's 18 months old and I am obsessed.
(5) Stay Hydrated
We’ve always been told to drink lots of water, but it is so easy to forget -- especially if you get overwhelmed by work or other activities. It’s important to stay hydrated, however, because we lose a lot of water during the day, whether it’s through urinating or sweating. Our bodies are at least 60% water, and when that level drops, our bodily systems don’t function at their best. Constipation, kidney stones, and generally not feeling well can result. Interestingly, sometimes when we think we feel “hungry”, we are actually thirsty.
It’s also extremely easy to just reach for a juice or worse a soft drink. The problem is that these drinks are loaded with refined sugar. Pure water is the best for your body, as “boring” as it may seem.
Keep a water bottle close by whenever you can, whether it’s in the desk, in the car, or somewhere else within reach. Every now and again, take a sip, even if you don’t think you feel thirsty. You can also take in fluids from food, such as juicy fruits and vegetables. If you want some variety from the water, add fresh lemon or lime. Staying well hydrated for me has been the simplest “hack” when it comes to feeling good, more of the time. Yet it is so HUGELY underestimated as we hear it all the time.
By the way, I know you already know all this. I am just reminding you. Now go down that glass of water
It sounds like lip service, but cognitive behavioural therapists know the inherent power of a smile on a person’s outlook. One exercise they teach is to make yourself “half smile” (so your face doesn’t cramp up after a while) when you are feeling stressed. It may seem like a silly thing to do, but remember that there is a very strong connection between the body and the mind. This connection is also referred to as the “bi-directional nature” of emotion and behaviour. When you smile, you are also sending a sort of message to your psyche and you will find that you feel a little less overwhelmed. I noticed this so much after getting my braces taken out (at 31) and found myself smiling more freely. I hadn't quite realised just how self-conscious I had become around smiling with my braces. After they came off, I started smiling way more and I kid you not, my happiness increased almost instantly. Crazy!
On the flip side of smiling, if you were to furrow your brow or make an angry face, after a while it will affect your mood in a negative way. By staying cognisant of our facial expressions, we can actually use this powerful cognitive behavioural technique to balance out our emotions if they overtake us.
So go on... No one is looking... do a HUGE cheesy smile and see how you feel.
I just did it and I am on a plane right now and I was spotted by the guy across the aisle. Oh well, it was worth it as I feel about 20% better than I already did 🙂
(7) Stay Connected
Humans are inherently social creatures. As annoying and draining as interpersonal relationships can seem, it is important that we don’t shut out everybody in our lives. Maintaining friendships can feel like work; that’s because it is, in a way. Connections wane over time if not cultivated. People grow apart, with their busy lives. That’s why it’s important to make sure you stay in touch with family members and people with whom you get along. You don’t have to call or text every day, but try to drop a line every now and again. You don’t have to accept every social invitation you get, but make sure that you occasionally say “yes”.
At worst, you may feel that you’ve wasted a few hours of your time. If you work to keep your relationships, though, you will help keep your support network intact so that there are people there for you when you need them most. In many cases, however, you’ll find that making yourself go out once in a while might actually be worth it, and it allows you to have some well-deserved fun. Don’t sell yourself short.
Why not text a friend right now and arrange that beer you’ve been promising to have!
(8) Savour Silence
We are surrounded by noise every day, almost all the time. If it’s not the radio, it’s the TV. There is the buzz of computers and the clackity-clack of keyboards. Maybe there is constant chatter, by colleagues in your place of work, fellow commuters, or maybe it’s just your spouse and/or kids. Whether you are able to “tune it out”, your ears are hearing what’s going on around you and your mind is still processing all that audial information, albeit at a subconscious level.
Your brain needs time to recuperate. We’ve all had times when we’ve had to concentrate for long periods of time, whether cramming in podcasts and online training or dealing with a crisis. In those moments, you can actually feel physically tired from constant mental exertion. Studies have shown that cells in the hippocampus actually begin to regenerate after experiencing a few hours of silence. In other words, giving your brain a break from sensory overload could help maintain your cognitive abilities and memory.
One of my favourite things to do is sit outside in my garden and just listen to the birds. I find just taking even a little moment in my day to appreciate nature has incredible side effects!
(9) Get Enough Sleep
Contrary to phrases like, “Sleeping is for when you're dead!”, getting adequate sleep benefits everybody. First of all, it is during sleep that we undergo memory consolidation, the process by which our brain turns new information we have encountered into memories. Studies have shown that people who sleep after learning something tend to do better when tested on that knowledge than those who did not sleep. It is also during undisturbed deep sleep that cells in our bodies regenerate.
When we don’t get enough sleep, not only do our memory and cellular repair processes suffer, but our mental states do as well. We’re more likely to be irritable, moody, and unable to concentrate. Sleepiness can also greatly impact judgment, mental acuity, and level of tiredness, which in turn can raise our probability to make mistakes and cause accidents. Long term effects of regular sleep deprivation include a higher probability to develop higher stress levels, lower moods and dampened immune function.
(10) Start the Day Reaffirmed
Just as hydrating at the beginning of your day can set a good tone for your physical performance, taking a few moments to collect your thoughts and centre yourself spiritually can set a great tone for your mentality. For some people, it is meditating. For others, it is yoga. Some people benefit from saying an affirmation out loud. The method you choose will be what you are most comfortable with, or what resonates with you the most.
Whether you are hoping for more serenity to deal with a hectic day, or to remind yourself not to take comments or criticisms from some random troll online personally, to your mind it will be an “ask and ye shall receive” situation. You are putting the desire or intention in the forefront of your mind, and while it may appear to fade when you are not thinking about it, your subconscious is working hard to grant you the mindset you need. You may even find it beneficial to repeat the thought or affirmation throughout the day.
Ascertain what it is you want to focus on, whether it’s a long term goal, such as building your self-esteem, or a temporary goal, such as being able to concentrate on an important short term task, and you are more likely to see - and feel - success if you’ve programmed it into your mind.
(11) Continue to Learn New Things
This one is important on two levels. Just as regular exercise improves our physical health and longevity, regular “mental” exercise helps us maintain our brain. When we learn something new, we are making new neural connections in the brain. When an activity becomes so routine that it’s practically automatic, our brains are no longer being challenged. Even the act of doing something different to normal provides a workout for the brain. For example, try doing a task you’d usually do with your dominant hand, with the less dominant hand. It’s forcing your brain to adapt to the new situation, and reinforcing your neural network. Meanwhile, when our lives become “stale” - predictable, routine, maybe even boring - we don’t tend to feel as fulfilled. As the adage goes, “variety is the spice of life”. Learning new things can make life fun again. It can also change our perspective.
Some people like to take online classes - to learn a new language or listen to podcasts, for example, but for people who are extraordinarily busy, it could be as simple as looking up a new topic online and reading up about it, or downloading a new educational app. Try a new cuisine, or find ways to incorporate particular flavours when you are cooking. Visit a landmark or museum you have never seen - or that you wouldn’t normally think would be interesting. Learn to play a new instrument. There are so many ways to keep your brain engaged and working hard. My personal favourite is RANDOM podcasts - it's such a simple way to learn and it costs absolutely nothing!
(12) Show More Gratitude
People often forget how lucky they are, and feelings of not having enough or doing well enough can eventually spiral out of control, causing depression and anxiety (or exacerbating already existing depression and anxiety). What we often forget is that there is a good reason for the saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. We often take our blessings for granted until we experience a reversal of fortune. It’s usually then that we appreciate whatever it is that has been lost, whether it’s health, a loved one, a business, or a talent. Sadly, by then, there is often nothing we can do to get it back.
If we tweak our mindset so that we are grateful for what we have it moves the focus from what we don't have (which makes us sad) to what we do have and can enjoy (which makes us happy). This awareness can also allow us to take steps toward maintaining and fostering what we have. For example, if we are thankful for having an awesome mum, we are more aware of her effect on our lives and can commit to see her more often, or do something nice for her -- cherishing the time we have with her now, instead of only being able to mourn her when she’s gone or regretting wasting lost opportunities.
(13) Build Up Your Empathy
Part of the reason it is so hard to see our blessings and be grateful is that we are often looking at life in a vacuum. It is easy to get so caught up in our own worlds that we lose sight of “the forest for the trees”. If you open up your frame of reference, you will realise that you are surrounded by people who have different abilities, families, networks, experiences, talents, debts, fears, jobs, accomplishments, hang-ups, triggers, and life goals.
By stepping outside of yourself, understanding other people’s circumstances and how they are similar or different from yours, and sometimes putting yourself in their shoes, you will be in a much better position to assess what you have and don’t have. This is key to being able to see your blessings and, as suggested above, feel and show gratitude.
Empathy is also a huge asset when it comes to forming meaningful interpersonal relationships. Just as you may need people to support you during difficult times, you should be there particularly for those you care about -- and you will only know when to offer your time and your shoulder if you understand what’s happening with them.
I think it's also a good idea to learn to be more present and empathetic with strangers, clients and your colleagues too. I found the more present and caring I am towards people, the more I enjoy my days. Being distant, blasé and even detached may seem like the best option when it comes to controlling your mood. Personally I have found it has the opposite effect.
(14) Keep Evolving
There is nothing more frustrating than a sense of stagnancy. What is a race without a finish line; how can you know what direction to run if there seems to be no set destination? As human beings, we need to feel as though there is a point to doing something -- a reason for existing. By making short, medium, and long term goals for ourselves - whether they are related to career, knowledge, or personal growth - we are creating signposts to guide us in our development.
Reaching them provides a sense of fulfilment and momentum, and keeps us looking forward.
Ask yourself where you would like to see improvement in your life or as a person. If you’d like to be more worldly, set goals like learning new languages or immersing yourself in different cultures. If you want to climb the job ladder, find out what you need to move up, and set your goals accordingly -- things like signing up for training or more advanced education, or attending a particular conference to network with certain people. As you meet your goals, plot out the next steps. The best thing is, you can always reevaluate and change your goals. This will help you avoid what I like to call the "current reality trap" where you are just drifting from day to day and week to week.
(15) Be “Present” For Yourself, Too
People have a tendency to dwell in the Past and worry (sometimes, obsessively) about the Future -- both of which are impossible to control. The Past has already happened; the Future is subject to a number of variables. The problem is that when you look back and second guess your choices, you might be tempted to wallow in regret. If you are continually fretting about what the Future looks like, you might find yourself feeling powerless.
There’s a reason Mindfulness is often promoted by so many people. By focusing on the present moment, acknowledging it, and accepting it, you are anchoring yourself to the here and now. Instead of “skimming” what you are experiencing, you allow yourself to be aware multidimensionally. For example, if you are eating a strawberry, you are contemplating not only the taste, smell, and texture of the fruit, but also the fact that you are wherever you are, and enjoying the act of eating a strawberry. Not only have you disconnected from the chatter in your mind about the Past and the Future, but you are able to appreciate your circumstances at this exact moment. You understand and appreciate that you are somewhere safe, but also that you can afford this little piece of sustenance in peace.
(16) Let Yourself Move On
Although we are once again dealing with past memories, we are now talking about accepting what you can’t change, not just pulling yourself back into the Present. Inevitably, if you are used to rehashing negative past experiences and reliving the hurt, simply practising Mindfulness won’t stop you from drowning in the sadness and regret when you do revisit the Past. They say that “hindsight is 20/20”, but we tend to pad our memories with a lot of assumptions. We might remember something as having been inevitable (or on the flip side, a choice), but what if we have forgotten some important detail or factor that challenges that assessment? It’s natural for human beings to unconsciously “rewrite history” --in other words, to refine it in a way as time goes on.
The grief or anger you feel upon recollecting an event will not pass until you make peace with it. First of all, you need to accept that it happened and that you don’t have a time machine to undo it. Secondly, remind yourself that had this event turned out differently, you wouldn’t be where and who you currently are -- and you are fine just the way you are. Thirdly, if you feel you did make a mistake, forgive yourself. Find the lesson that came out of the experience. If you learned something, it served a purpose. Beating yourself up over something you can’t retroactively correct only holds you back from seeking and attaining greater things. And try to remember, we build character through adversity and rarely the good times. I truly am grateful for the hard times in my life when I take a moment to see how they have shaped me to be a better human
(17) Be Patient With Yourself
We are often our worst critics and hold ourselves to higher expectations than anyone around us. If someone makes a certain mistake, we might shrug it off or accept it, but if we’re the ones who made that mistake, we’d be berating ourselves. Not only does this have a detrimental impact on self-esteem, but we are not being fair to ourselves. It’s pretty common to want to be perfect, but raising the bar to unattainable heights only undermines our confidence and determination to succeed. There is such a thing as being too nitpicky. We might tell ourselves it’s because we should “know better” or “do better”, but sometimes it’s because deep down, we are looking for reasons to beat ourselves up.
Ask yourself how you would react if someone other than you messed up or took too long to learn something. In most cases, you might be temporarily annoyed or angry, but eventually would “get over it”. Then ask yourself why you would treat yourself differently. Make the decision to be kinder to yourself.
(18) Cut Out (Unnecessary) Negativity
By this, I mean don’t waste your time on people, places, and things that upset you if you don’t have to do so. You may find it hard to ignore that odd family member who seems to love to rile you up, but you can decline to engage in political debate with this person if that’s what seems to set off the fireworks in your head. In fact, once you get really good at deflecting their strange comments and being totally detached from their opinions or perspective - it actually gives you HUGE peace of mind knowing that it doesn't effect you like it once did. You may even just end up feeling sorry for them and being able to practice your empathy when you engage with them... I mean they clearly need some of it 🙂
Other things to consider, say, watching the nightly news depresses you, find an alternate source of information -- online newsletters, for example. For years I have been called ignorant by some of my family members for not wanting to watch the daily news and "stay alert with what's going on in the world". But, frankly... I let them just think that. I am far too busy focusing on making a positive impact in my life and on those around me to let the mainstream media get in my way and ruin my day. That's not to say I stay oblivious. I just choose my timings and sources wisely.
Realising that you have some measure of control over what you let into your life is empowering. By making value choices and moving away from situations that you are able to avoid and that bring negativity into your day or your outlook, you are removing obstacles to your happiness. It will improve your mood and free up time for the people and things in your life that do matter and that bring you positivity.
(19) Keep Your Expectations Realistic
How many times have you heard the saying, “Keep your expectations low and you’ll never be disappointed”? Sadly, there is a grain of truth to that. Raise your expectations too high and you’re pretty much setting yourself up for disappointment. Lower them too much and tasks will seem pointless. Even worse, despite having low expectations, you might still be disappointed if even those remain unfulfilled.
The key is to frame your expectations realistically. Test the assumptions underlying your expectation, and be reasonable when assessing probabilities. Be honest with yourself. Then, think of your next steps either way. That way, if things don’t turn out as you hope, you at least have a game plan. Even if you’re disappointed, you’re not at a loss as to what to do next.
(20) Resist the Need to Be "Right" All the Time
Nobody likes a “know-it-all” -- someone who needs to win every argument and prove everyone else wrong. This behaviour usually stems from deep-seated insecurity and ultimately drives people away. Sometimes the “victory” of being right is overshadowed by exclusion from peers, friends, and loved ones. In some cases, people bring ridicule upon themselves by insisting that they are right when they actually aren’t.
More importantly, you may come to seek vindication rather than the truth. Imagine trying to argue with a fanatic -- even when confronted by seemingly irrefutable evidence, this person will remain close-minded and ignorant. There is no personal growth or attainment of knowledge - only self-serving tunnel vision - only two angry people.
Save yourself the aggravation - your own as well as what you’ll cause others to feel. Pick your proverbial battles. In many cases, it may make the most sense to “agree to disagree”.
(21) Don’t Give In to Envy
Apart from the fact that Envy is one of the “Seven Deadly Sins”, it is a wholly unproductive state. Of course, there will be times you will wish you had what others have - that’s normal - but if you let yourself stew in the resentment and feelings of inadequacy that Envy fuels, you will just make yourself miserable. Envy is the antithesis of counting your blessings and feeling gratitude. All it does is invite you to look at other people’s lives to dictate your own. You will never be satisfied with what you have, and you will never feel content. It is a horrible state of mind to live in, and your hostility will seep through in your relationships with the people you envy. People will sense this negativity in you and push you away.
If you find yourself envious of others, ask yourself why you are unhappy with what you do have. Are you ultra competitive and need to learn that not everything is a race? Were you somehow taught directly or indirectly that you need to be the best or have the most to have true worth? Do some soul searching and understand that different things make different people happy, and it would be better to focus on what makes you feel fulfilled. Taking this approach in my life has made such a HUGE difference. It takes a lot of self-awareness at first, but soon you'll recognise the pattern and it's actually pretty easy state to shift, with some practice.
(22) Unplug From Social Media
Social media platforms have revolutionised the way we communicate, and one of the biggest side effects is that we can see what is going on in everyone’s life...or rather, an airbrushed version edited and presented by whoever is posting. As it turns out, most people play up the positive aspects of their lives and skip the more boring or disappointing bits. The result is that everyone thinks everyone else’s life is better and will start to feel like there’s something missing in their own. This is a breeding ground for envy and self-doubt.
Every now and again, take a “vacation” from social media - I call it “digital detoxing” and, I actually do it a lot! If you need to, let people know you’re taking a break, and resist the urge to log in during this time. Even picking a weekend every month or two to “disconnect” and focus solely on your own life and goals can make a big difference. You won’t have the spectre of what everyone else is doing to compromise your decision or goal making process, and you will find it much easier to identify the blessings in your life.
(23) Get Reacquainted With Yourself
One of the wonderful things about being human is the ability to reinvent, adapt, and assess. We are constantly learning new things and our personalities aren’t static. We grow or change. Sadly, we sometimes lose touch with ourselves -- our desires, motivations, and what will make us happy. Following an outdated strategy to attain happiness is more likely to end in failure. Essentially, you will be charting your course on who you used to be, not who you are now. You might as well be trying to duplicate someone else’s path to contentment because you’re practically doing that now.
If you find yourself feeling listless or frustrated with where you are in life, look within. What is it that will make you feel fulfilled? Is it different from what it used to be? How have you changed? What values are important to you now? Just like a doctor needs to be familiar with a patient’s symptoms in order to make a proper diagnosis, you need some self-awareness if you want to pursue the best options to achieve your happiness.
(24) Don’t Be Ruled By Other People’s Opinions
As social creatures, it makes sense to want to be liked, respected, and yes, admired by others. There may be times when you’re inspired by another person’s opinion to grow professionally or personally. If you start to let what others think dictate how you should act or what kind of person you should be, there is going to be a chasm between the authentic you and the image you project. Even worse, you could lose sight of your own values, personality, or identity.
In the end, the only person whose opinion of you really matters is...you. This is your life. These are your goals. These are your desires. How others conduct themselves and what others want from life should not define how you conduct yourself and what you want from your life. Learn to give less of a Fu*ck about what others think.
(25) Develop a Healthy Approach to Rejection
Rejection is unavoidable. It doesn’t matter how rich, good looking, smart, successful, or lucky you are. At some point in your life - many points, actually - you will encounter rejection, whether someone is rebuffing your advances, declining your proposal, or refusing to settle. A rejection could occur seemingly without rhyme or reason, or out of the blue, or even sometimes you can see it coming from a mile away. How you react to rejection and what you take from it is crucial.
If you take every rejection personally, you will erode your self-esteem and self-worth, and may even develop a fatalistic attitude that will prevent you from moving on to bigger and better things. If, however, you can keep in mind that the reasons for your rejection may have nothing to do with you or the viability of your proposal - for example, circumstances you may not be aware of or a matter of bad timing - and can detach yourself enough to analyze what went wrong, you are more likely to bounce back from rejection, regroup, and try again.
(26) Let Time Take Its Course
Time heals almost everything -- Not necessarily perfectly or completely, but eventually, it will dull the pain, make it feel less acute, and can allow you to put matters in perspective. The thing is, Time takes time. The healing process isn’t often immediate, especially when the hurt you feel is substantive. Becoming discouraged and frustrated at how slow your progress may seem will only exacerbate your misery. It’s like being put on a guilt trip, and then feeling guilty for feeling guilty. This is counterproductive.
Remember that everyone - and every wound - heals at a different pace. You should not judge how effective your healing process is by how long it is taking you.
(27) Find Ways to Improve Your Time Management
Time is our most precious commodity. When we make the most efficient use of our time, we accomplish more and feel less rushed all the time. Most people revisit how they manage their time when they feel overburdened. It is a reactive process that comes with its own stresses. If you “check in” every now and again and examine how you are allocating your time, you can proactively make tweaks so that you’re less likely to freak out and scramble to find the time to catch up or to get everything done.
Analyse how you currently use your time and prioritise tasks. Proper prioritisation isn’t just about figuring out the order of doing things based on levels of importance, but knowing what tasks you can delegate. In other words, you shouldn’t just be asking yourself when you should be doing things; you need to make sure that you are only doing what it makes sense for you to do. Don’t reinvent the wheel or indulge in “make work” projects.
(28) Practice Self Care
Many of my students and clients tell me they find it hard to justify taking time for themselves, especially if they feel that there is always so much to do. Think of it this way, though: If you are not functioning at your peak, you work far less efficiently and effectively. You owe it to yourself to do what you can not only do to stay physically healthy but mentally as well. “All work and no play” doesn’t just make you dull -- it can also stress you out and make you wonder what’s the point of working so hard all the time if you aren’t able to enjoy your life.
Make time to take breaks and to treat yourself, even if it means actually blocking off time in your schedule to do so. In this “you” time relax, do something you like to do, or something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time but never had the chance.
(29) Keep Things In Perspective
Remember how hard we thought life was when we were kids, only to find out in adulthood that those were the “easy” days? Events that may have seemed like the end of the world at the time don’t seem so bad in retrospect. Imagine how much better we might have handled a situation knowing what we know now.
Thankfully, you can apply this principle looking forward in time. When something bad is happening and you are on the verge of freaking out (or already in the throes), ask yourself if this will matter a year from now. You may find yourself coping better now, knowing that when you look back in a year, you won’t still think that the sky was falling -- even though it may seem like it is at this precise moment.
(30) Demystify Some of Your Fears
Fear can be paralysing; it is not a pleasant state of mind. You may have heard the saying, “Do something that frightens you every single day.” It is actually an excellent principle by which to live. It does not necessarily mean confronting our deepest, darkest fears and inducing mental trauma on a daily basis. There are certain things we have to deal with in our own time, but there are also smaller fears that may nag us but are relatively simple to overcome. Use this as the impetus to drive personal growth.
Scared of public speaking? Sign up for a class to develop your skills and get out of your comfort zone for a day. Afraid of skydiving? If you can muster up the courage to go with a friend, great -- but you don’t have to; it can be as simple as looking up skydiving videos or researching it online. You may just work your way into wanting to address a bigger fear, knowing that you’ve “survived” facing your fears thus far.
And in closing, here is my commitment to do a skydive. I have been saying I will do one for two years - - yet I haven't done one yet. 2019 is the year for, me, Stuart Ross to do a skydive.
I'll keep you posted on the blog... wish me luck!