Simple ways to improve your life
Have you ever wondered why you always seem so busy, yet rarely get anything constructive done? It might be because you’re spending time doing things that aren’t benefiting you.
In this series of articles, I’ll help you find out what you’re doing, then help you decide which things you should carry on with and which ones you should push to the back of your list.
This series naturally splits into two categories; personal interests and career goals.
Those two categories can be split into finding out what you’re doing now and then providing an insight into how to make it better in the future.
I’ve decided to split this article into three parts. In this first section, we’ll find out where you are at the moment.
Check where you’re at
As we go through the process, don’t pretend you’re interested in a subject, just because it suits someone else, or because it seems like ‘the right thing to do’.
By all means, you can add this type of thing to the stuff you’re already doing that brings you joy. Just make sure it brings a short term benefit for you, or your loved ones. But, remember not to make it more important than it really is and certainly don’t let it dictate the pattern of your life.
Sometimes, with the unintentional added pressure of loved ones, we do things that ordinarily, we would even think about doing. But, even though it could have positive outcomes at first, soon enough, it’ll just be another example of how you tried something and it failed.
Of course, there’s possibly a worse outcome. The people you’re trying to impress might start to notice that your commitment isn’t what it should be. If that happens, they might start to think you’ve got an ulterior motive.
There are loads of techniques you can use to assess your life, but for most people, it’s best to start by making a list. So, get yourself a pencil and some paper, then find somewhere comfortable and quiet where you can think without distractions.
Make a start
Okay, we’re going to start by looking at the things you do in your free time. Often, people find they’re spending their time on things that, in the end, don’t turn out to be that important to them.
So, start by listing down all the things you do with your leisure time. This can include sedate things like reading, chess, or fishing, to exciting things like rock climbing, or skydiving. Also include things like voluntary work, gardening, shopping, etc. Basically, anything that isn’t part of your paid work.
Then, get yourself a new piece of paper and draw a line down the centre of the page so you’ve got two columns.
In one column, list everything from your original list that you find really easy and enjoyable, or where time seems to ‘fly-by’. eg: an hour, or two could pass when it seems like only minutes.
In the other column, list all the things you do that either,
- seem to take an age to complete, or,
- sometimes seem difficult, or
- get you frustrated, or
- make you feel disappointed on a fairly regular basis.
Things that fall into the first column, are things that are a generally a benefit to your well-being. usually, many things in the second column, are things you’re doing to please someone else, or simply doing them because you think you should.
It maybe time to either reduce, or stop these activities.
I know it seems very simplistic, but the most effective things usually are.
You’d be surprised how many people go through their lives believing that everything they do, is because they like to do them.
Now that you have a list of the things you enjoy doing, you can spend more time doing those things and less time doing the stuff that doesn’t make you happy.
Now, I’m not saying that you should only do things that are easy for you. Everyone needs to grow as a person and to do that, you need to stretch your comfort zone a little bit every day. But we’ll deal with that little problem in the next instalment of this article later in the week.
For now, go make your list, then let me know your findings in the comments. 🙂