We all get frustrated with our day to day lives. The days pass quickly and seem almost unmanageable. It’s like we’re just existing, caught up in a tidal wave sweeping us along. You want change. You need change. But what does that change look like?
I’m sure the first image that pops into your mind is sitting on a beach sipping margaritas and enjoying the sound of the sea. Hey, it’s 5 O’Clock somewhere right?! That may be true if you’re thinking about a vacation, but I’m willing to bet that your idea of every day living would be very different.
You will never be able to make changes to your life and create your ideal day unless you actually sit down and define those changes. Remember, this isn’t a pity party, it’s a time to reflect, and make some positive decisions. You’d be surprised how much control you already have over creating your ideal day.
Set Your Vision
As mentioned before, you need to understand what an ideal day looks like for you. Maybe it’s more time with your kids, making sure you exercise, cooking a good meal, or even taking a nap. This is your day, so take the time to think about the things that frustrate you and what a more fulfilling day would look like.
This seems like a no brainer, but how many of us actually sit down the night before and plan out the next day? At first it seems like a waste of time, as if you’re just adding tasks to a never ending to do list. Here’s where we need a change in thinking. You’re not adding tasks, you’re blocking off time to be productive and actually add things that you want to do. By planning your day, you are giving yourself the power to control that day. Though it’s a bit on the extreme side, Elon Musk plans his day in 5 minute slots. That being said, he does get more done in a week than most of us get done in a year!
This all sounds pretty simple, but where the hell do I find the time to do all of these wonderful things?! We all wish we had more time, but there are a few quick fixes you can make to add a few hours to your day. A researcher from Lund University estimates that the average worker spends 2 hours each day on Facebook. That’s a lot of time that could be spent working on your own pet project or side hustle. How much time do we spend on reading the news? Fill that time with something that brings you joy. Would you rather read depressing news stories and look at pictures of your friends traveling the world while you’re stuck at the office or spend 2 hours working on something you’re passionate about? The choice is yours.
Another way to add more time to your day is to cut down your commute. Why not move closer to your office? Doing this would reduce the time you spend in the car and would also give you the possibility to bike to work. Remember that part of your day where you want to exercise more? Here’s a golden opportunity to make that happen. No more need to force yourself into a gym at 7pm when all you want to do is relax. By making it part of your daily routine you don’t even have to make the decision exercise. It becomes automatic because, hey, you gotta get to work right?
Even better than reducing your commute, try cutting it out entirely by working remotely. Nearly 23% of workers in the US report working remotely at least part time and that number is only increasing. This cuts out all commuting time as well as all distractions from co-workers. Talk about taking control of your day!
If you have to be stuck in the office then there are still ways to increase the quality of your day. Consider using walking meetings as a way to get some daily exercise and boost both your energy and creativity.
It’s Quality Not Quantity
Once you’ve made some extra time to do the things that make you happy, remember to not only safeguard that time but also use it wisely. Make sure that the new interactions you’ve been able to create are quality ones.
We all say we’d like to spend more time with our kids, but sitting on the couch with them while they’re on the i-pad and you’re on your phone is not quality time. Give your loved ones the respect they deserve. The greatest gift you can give your kids is your time.
Writing down on a to do list “be with kids” isn’t acceptable. It won’t happen. To maximize the time you set aside for your loved ones, make sure you plan something to do with them. Take time the night before to sit down with them and come up with something that brings them joy. That way they have the entire next day to think about it. Anticipation is half the fun! The important thing is that you are fully present, so put down the phone and enjoy those precious moments.
Its amazing how much control we already have over our day. It doesn’t even require big changes to increase the quality of the time we spend on this earth. Small changes coupled with tweaking a few bad habits can yield big results. So quit complaining and take back control of your day!