You are not going to win any awards for being the busiest person in the room. Chances are when you are on your death bed you will not be wishing you did more stuff people don’t remember you for. Don’t kid yourself. You are here to live your life authentically. You need to get out of busy and into focusing on what matters to you.
Reality check with where you are right now
Are you living your life in line with your values? Do you even know what you value? What are the non-negotiables for your life? Are they to live with honesty, integrity, determination, strength, family always before friends? Only you will know. Write them down. Think about the five qualities you want to be known for, because that is how you lived your life.
Know your priorities
You have to spend time figuring out what makes your heart sing or gets you excited. Your priorities are not your values. They are closely related. Your priorities reflect your values. They allow you to show what your values are. What are you willing to spend your time and money on? What are you wanting to achieve most at the moment? Look at the four areas of your life. Health; work or career; education and relationships. Write down one or two priorities for each area in your life. Keep these priorities in front of you always. Write them down daily in your diary. Let your day-to-day actions reflect these priorities.
Learn to say no
Learning to say no is like using a muscle. It is hard at first. But gets stronger over time. Start small then move onto the more complicated boundary violations that we all find hard to deal with. Although it doesn’t feel like it, the world will not crumble around you if you say no.
Make your day tiny habits and routines
Our life is a reflection of what we do every day. If you can focus your life on simplified routines and habits, your life develops a flow. It is far easier to add small routines and habits than subtracting behaviours that you find difficult to give up due to familiarity. It is also simpler to get back on the bandwagon if there are a succession of tiny habits to implement rather than massive behavior changes.
Make time to quiet your mind
You need to make short periods of mindfulness or meditation essential. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Focusing on the breath for 2 minutes. If your mind wanders, just bring it back to the feeling of the breath on the end of your nostril. Do this first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Get rid of the distractions
Eliminate the electronic distractions that fill your life. Take off the notifications on your phone. Don’t have your phone next to you when speaking with others or eating. If you are feeling really brave, get rid of the television or at least turn it off when you are sitting down to eat. Only check your email once or twice a day or even twice a week.
Figure out your ideal day
Figure out what your ideal day would be, write it down and work towards it. Make it central in working towards achieving your priorities. Schedule everything, including your personal and meditation time.
Stop saying ‘I’m so busy’.
Take it out of your vocabulary. Don’t use it. Stop competing with others about how busy you are. Make a concerted effort towards focusing on making personal choices that focus on your priorities rather than contending with others and making excuses for poor personal choices.
Not all of these actions are easy to implement. They take time, energy, consistency and practice. But applying these changes will definitely help you to live the intentional life that you desire.