While it can be hard to face our mortality, the fact remains that one day, all the busyness, the running around, and everything in between will come to an abrupt end. It's saddening, no doubt, but spending time on the things that matter makes all the difference.
It's not easy to stay on track, especially in a world where you're bombarded with distractions, such as your phone, email, and stress. So if you're frustrated about not living the life that truly matters to you, you're not alone.
The good news, however, is that things can get better. It might not happen overnight, but taking it one step at a time is key to building a life you value. So, here is how to get your life back by spending time on the things that matter:
1. Know Your Purpose
Are you the type that lives by default and reacts to whatever comes your way? That is the quickest way to spend time doing things that add no value. But when you're clear with your purpose, you tend to live by design and set goals that align with your values.
You can begin by planning your week and setting goals you want to achieve. Making this a habit will keep you focused and make you proud of yourself, knowing that you had a successful week.
Your purpose could be better teamwork, getting more referrals, sales, deepening relationships with your team and customers, and perhaps, creating awareness for your brand through influencer marketing.
2. Learn To Say NO
Immediately you get started on things that matter to you; it's also crucial you protect that time. That means you need to master the art of saying NO. While this can be hard for the people pleasers and agreeable people, it can be learned and improved.
Think about it this way: When you're saying no, you're saying yes to the things that matter to you. For instance, you're working on a project, and suddenly, a client or a team member approaches you with another task.
Knowing how to say NO politely so that you don't hurt your image or their feeling is a skill that will save you a lot of hurdles in the long run.
3. Minimize Distractions
In today's world, distraction is almost inevitable - from getting an email notification to social media buzzes. While it can be impossible to eliminate distractions, the key is to minimize them as much as possible so you spend time on the things that matter.
If your phone is your biggest distraction, keep it far away from you while you work. Sometimes, it could be an app on your phone that, once deleted, you become more in control of your time.
Talking about distraction, your workplace can also be distracting - even if it's just a desk and a laptop. So make it a habit to clear your space, cancel out the noise, and turn off mobile notifications until you're done with the task at hand
4. Track Your Time
The 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, asserts that 80% of outputs result from 20% of inputs. Therefore, your aim should be to identify the most productive inputs and make them your priority.
The key is to recognize what works and what doesn't work in your schedule so you can make the necessary adjustments. You do this by keeping track of your time for a week to see what activities are taking most of your time and the ones yielding the most results.
For example, you might be wasting excessive time on things that yield little to no result, such as scrolling mindlessly on your LinkedIn feed. This awareness compels you to make changes and to focus on those activities that bring the most outcome. That way, you're spending time on the things that matter most.
5. Schedule Work Breaks
Research found that workers who took breaks to do something they enjoyed reported fewer health symptoms, such as eye strain, headaches, and lower back pain. They also reported higher job satisfaction, coupled with a lower burnout rate.
While spending time on things that matter to you is vital, you also need to take breaks and practice mindfulness. Unfortunately, in our busy-loving modern society, many of us work through the noon hour without a break, even eating lunch at our desks.
Unfortunately, this causes more harm than good. But when you take a break to stretch your legs and take a bit of fresh air outside, you can instantly feel an improvement in your mood, overall wellbeing, and performance capacity.
According to the Stoic Philosopher Seneca, it's not that we have a short time to live, but we waste a ton of it. You might not have the power to control the things around you, but you can control how you choose to utilize your time.
And at the end of the day, take some time to review your day and celebrate the little wins. The little wins will help you build momentum to achieve more the following day. That way, you're spending time on the things that matter without burning out.
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