If you’re like me, every once in a while, your life gets filled up with too much stuff. You’re overbooked, stressed out, tired and the joy you once had in your life is hard to find. You know you need a break but there’s no end in sight. Here are 6 things you can do to get a hold of your schedule and start living again.
1. Eliminate Mindless Activities – It isn’t just TV that is mindless. It could mean flipping through your Facebook feed, watching pointless YouTube videos, playing video games or checking to see how many people liked your last Instagram photo. What have these things offered you? How have they enriched your life? If these activities are a regular pat of your day, I’m willing to bet you often feel half dead, lethargic, uninspired, maybe even frustrated with all the time you’ve wasted. These activities are enticing when we’re tired because they provide entertainment with very little effort. With little effort comes little reward. If you continue these behaviors, stop wondering why you’re unhappy and feel lethargic all the time.
2. “Age Quod Agis” – To this day, I can hear my father’s voice echo this Latin phrase. It means, “Do what you’re doing.” In other words, don’t give in to distraction. Focus on the task at hand. Don’t try to have a phone conversation, while reading an email and making a sandwich. A study done by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London found that multitasking with electronic media caused a more significant decrease in IQ than smoking marijuana or missing an entire night of sleep. Unless you want to perform like a “pot head,” focus on what you’re doing and stop trying to multi-task. You would get things done more quickly and the quality of your work will dramatically increase.
3. Print Out a Schedule – Sound a little old school? It may be, but it works. There is power in writing things down. I use a very basic document to plan out my life and my business. Click here to print it out.
Planning out your life in advance helps create more margin in your life. It also gives you time to prepare for the weeks and months ahead. Own your schedule, don’t let it own you.
4. Get Up Early and Go to Bed Early – You’ve heard the sayings. “Early bird gets the worm.” Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” It’s true. I get more accomplished between 5:30 AM and 9:30 AM than any other time of the day. It’s quiet and there are fewer distractions. There is something empowering about being up working toward something meaningful, while most others are sleeping. You don’t have to be a “morning person” to make this work. The first 30 years of my life, I slept in as long as I possibly could, except on Christmas morning. Don’t hide behind the fact that you’re a night owl. Anyone can develop the habit of getting up early.
If you want to get up early and get enough rest, you’ll have to go to bed earlier. It means you’ll have to give up those precious hours of 9 PM to midnight where absolutely nothing productive happens.
2 Week Challenge: Try getting up at 5:30 AM and going to bed at 9:30 PM every weekday for 2 weeks. You might be amazed at how beautiful it is to watch the sunrise and how much you accomplish.
5. Find Active Ways to Rest – Have you ever come home after a long hard day, flopped down on the couch and watched 3 hours of TV and felt invigorated? It’s virtually impossible. It might be relieving to shut off your brain and body and not have to face life, but how do you feel after? The things you think are helping you rest may be making you even more tired.
When you’re burned out from staring at a computer screen or sitting in an office all day, the last thing you need, is to stare at another screen for a few hours. It’s time to get outside and do something. I love mountain-biking, kayaking, hiking, running or any activity that allows me to enjoy the outdoors and be active. The crazy thing is, after I’m done, I feel great! I have more energy, I want to eat better and I even sleep better.
6. Quit Something that Isn’t Life Giving – It’s time to take an honest look at how you spend your time and why. What in your life are you continuing to do, simply because you think you should? Is it an organization or club that has no direction? Are you in a friendship or relationship that you know is going nowhere? Do you eat a breakfast sandwich and a latte everyday because it’s convenient? Do you mow the lawn every Saturday for 4 hours and need to hire someone? Pick a life-sucking obligation and quit it. I’m giving you permission. Make more room for the important stuff.
A Reminder Regarding Change: When you make significant change in life, it usually feels uncomfortable at first. Don’t let the discomfort sway you from doing the right thing. The strain may come from the pressure of others or your own guilt. The change may challenge the way you were brought up. People around you may feel threatened. Regardless of where it’s coming from, it will show up. Ask yourself, “Am I harming myself or others,” and if not, “Does this make me better?” If yes, then stare the discomfort right in the face and go for it!