From managing school homework to a billion dollar company, the struggle to get things done is perpetual. While it’s great to have long term goals, and even better if you’re able to achieve them, the secret of the ages, say the seers and masters of every domain, is in making it happen one day at a time. The best managers, relationship guides, and happiness consultants all unanimously agree that all one has to do to be at peace with oneself is to seize every day, and every moment of every day, as an opportunity to get a sense of fulfillment. Now, while philosophy is great to help understand the purpose behind things, what gets us going, and able to survive, are the necessary actions of our jobs and relationships.
At the bare minimum, human beings in 21st century-lives have to take care of personal and family health, food and chores, jobs, relationships, and leisure (yes, it is a need). All of this often begs prioritization, can sometimes happen in an atmosphere of conflict and all in a haze of expectations, both self-generated and from others. But to tackle these and achieve a sense of satisfaction, we have one huge asset that cannot be taken away from us – the 24 hour day!
So what’re the absolutely necessary things to do everyday that will make you feel and be successful?
* Eat and Sleep properly – Look at the body and mind as infrastructure that supports the ‘me’ inside. The body generates physical energy and has positive psychological effect too if it is healthy. The mind uses the intellect, has a huge pool of emotional energy and if all of this is taken care of, then it can result in a large amount of dynamism to accomplish all that you want to do today.
To help the body, eat what your body really wants, eat at regular times and rest at least 8 hours a day. For your mind, stay in regular contact with your loved ones, and 5 minutes of autosuggestion (where you tell yourself the good things about you and what you would like to achieve) are a surprisingly effective and easy process. Without paying attention to your body-mind infrastructure, it may become difficult to complete your day, and possibly, your life, as you wish to.
* Say ‘No’ – If you’re reading this article then you’re probably a person interested in conscious self-development. It probably also means you’re sensitive and empathetic. It could very well follow that you’re a person, who, like millions out there, has difficulty saying no to people who want help in every little way. We are unable to say ‘No’ because people like us also have a high level of anxiety associated with what people will think of us.
The other kind of person who cannot say ‘No’ is a highly conscientious person who looks at every opportunity to help as serving a higher purpose. However, if we want to conserve energy and accomplish still higher goals, we have to learn to refuse to help when our energies are being depleted. Use your intuition to say ‘No’ to things your gut warns you against. It’ll take a while to get used to it, but everyone around you will be happier, including, most importantly, yourself.
You’re probably thinking, “All this is great, but what should I do to be more effective?” Without the above, it’ll be very difficult to do what follows.
So here’s a day plan that’s not about dividing your life into hours of available sunlight. Not everyone needs to follow this to the tee, but it’s a useful template.
Here’s the practical part:
1. Start Everyday Right – Wake up and exercise. Do whatever is not boring for you – a run, hitting the gym, some yoga – so that it is sustainable. If you can find a group to do it with (a class, or just a couple of friends), all the better. Exercising in the mornings is way better than exercising at any other part of the day. Return to a good breakfast. Spend 5 minutes in autosuggestion, that is, give yourself the message that you can do everything you need to in the day.
2. Make Lists – This may seem simple, and many of us find it tedious, but every successful person swears by this, from stay-at-home moms to big-time CEOs. You will see how much easier it is to cut out the unnecessary stuff once its been written down in front of you. You will prioritize easily and instinctively. But beware of being overly enthusiastic and set yourself reasonable targets.
3. Keep your workplace organized – a chaotic workplace is subconsciously tiresome. You take a few seconds longer to locate something, a few minutes longer to get your thoughts collected, and perhaps hours longer to get your work or project done. Five minutes of tidying up daily can make your day more effective.
4. Do away with distractions – Don’t answer every call on your cell phone. You can always call back when you’re done in the evening. Don’t automatically sign in to chat software or keep messengers open on your smartphone. This is going to be tough, but if you want to have an effective day, this could be a make or break decision.
5. Take a break – research shows that approximately 50 minutes of work followed by a 10 minute break is optimum for body and mind efficiency. If you work on a chair, get up during those 10 minutes and walk about, get your blood moving again. If you work on your feet, do the opposite.
6. Plan your leisure just like you plan your work – This one you’re going to enjoy. Don’t overwork. Period. An art, a hobby or passion, meeting friends or family is an everyday need. Say ‘NO’ to things that interrupt your ‘me time’. If you’re not meeting someone important to you at a personal level everyday, you should worry.
Most of the stress we have is self created. Understand that you are not a super being. We need to work and play, love and struggle, just enough to be able to sleep well at night and smile at everyone and everything we come across. Try to do the same things at the same times everyday – this is what helps us make ‘pathways’, habits that ease the difficulty of each day.
Most importantly, at the end of the day, remind yourself that tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to be happy and share that happiness with people around you.
Visual Courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/