Sure all of us live. We get up in the morning, go through morning routine, get ready, eat breakfast, get to work, give orders, take orders, do internet, mobile phone, email, facebook, chat, gossip, eat lunch while staring at computer screen, drink endless mugs of coffee, tea or your favorite beverage, work late, pack, get back and eat while watching TV, and in the end plug on the laptop again before crashing in the bed.
For a different work profile make slight changes. For example a person in a sales role – put daytime for making sales calls and presentation at client locations; for a housewife – taking care of household chores, taking care of kids etc. Whatever the work or role – routine remains the same for most – get up, get ready, engage in some sort of activity – for pay or without, end workday, eat, watch TV, gossip and sleep. Over a period, add some intermittent outings, movies, parties, picnics, social dos, weekend siestas and you have the life plotted for a 21st century human being.
Now where is the problem with this lifestyle? The basic problem is mindless engagement in various activities and little or no time figured out for self and for those who matter to you.
Now the important part – is there a solution? Yes of course.
The solution is not – in – getting up at 5 am everyday; making a long to-do list and finish everything on it before end of the day. It is not about having a presence on every social network there is. Though nothing of these will hurt when done sensibly; but it is about something more grounded. It is about stopping to live like a zombie and living every moment. Coming back to what one needs to do in order to live life to the fullest. As you read further, you will find a mix of big ideas and simple tips to help you live a fuller life.
Live with a purpose: A life without purpose is no life. Some of you may ask what purpose is. To put it simply, it is the end result you see for the action you take, over a period of time. In most cases the end result should be something significant. Living without thinking about the end result is living without purpose. Many of us keep on living and continue taking action without thinking about why you are doing – what you are doing. That is all fine; but till the time you have a purpose in life, it is like trying to find a needle in a dark room. You know it is almost impossible.
When you are young there are many ideas about what you want to become but as the time passes you tend to get into the hustle and bustle of the world and left with little time to ponder over such thoughts. But start dreaming and thinking about your life’s purpose before it is too late.
If you have spent your life so far without even thinking about it then better think now than never.
Do something every day to take you closer to your dreams: Don’t tell me that you don’t have a dream. If you are like any normal human being then you got to have a dream. If you are looking in disbelief try to go back to the time when you were a kid. When somebody asked you what will you become when you grew up – you said that you will become a pilot, an actor, a musician, a scientist, an astronaut or was it something else? You know better. If you have really forgotten go ask your parents they should be able to help.
At one extreme there are people who have forgotten what there dreams were. At the other extreme there are people who always keep dreaming what they will become. But the best approach is being in touch with your core, realizing your true potential and work consciously to achieve your dreams. When you do that you get closer to living your dream sooner than later.
Stop multitasking, get to single-tasking: We are living in an age where we tweet, listen to music, chat, surf web and look at incoming email, drink cola and say hi to a colleague at work – all seemingly at same time. Has it happened to you that in such a situation you don’t even realize who passed by you or who you said hi to?
But if you are really interested in living fully, you need to change that. What about going on a social media fast for a week? If this is unfathomable to some of you who eat, breathe and live on a social media diet then restrict it to not more than an hour a day.
Focus on one task at a time. If your work involves creation – like writing, making movies or art then you need to set aside good chunks of time without any interruption. If you are a sales person your clients will feel connected when you only talk to them without engaging in anything else. This will finally show in results – of course you will need some sales skills for bagging the deal or closing the sale.
Single-tasking also works well for your relationships. When you actively listen to a person and give your undivided attention you create a special connection.
Same is true when you eat mindfully. You feel full even when you eat less. It is simply good for your body as you go by on less food and feel equally good.
Plan for next day before you sleep: People tend to be confused as to what to do first when they begin with day’s business. They delve into the 1st thing that they come across, like replying to the seemingly important email or calling somebody back whom could not be replied to the night before. If you are of the group that is at its freshest best in the morning then you better spend your time working on something significant – it can be a project plan or may be working on your book.
You will do best by planning you next day before you go to bed. Just think about your life’s goal and also look at any looming urgency. Work out a plan for next day that balances both. If you feel stressed by thinking about next day then you may also think about how you are going to pamper yourself the next day. It may be going out with family for a movie or enrolling into music lessons that you have been thinking about for long. It will surely make you look forward to the next morning.
Give time to both work and life: Though many of us feel that boundaries between personal and professional life have blurred. But it is good if you put a start and end time to your work day. This will keep you sane and make sure that you don’t go overboard. Your workday need not be 9 to 5. These are the hours set by corporate world. If you are an entrepreneur or a housewife then you sure don’t need these hours.
If you look closely at a 9 to 5 situation, you have time for water-cooler talk, coffee break, facebook, twitter, and also time for staring at your email inbox – thinking about mail that needs to be replied to – not doing anything about it; and also time for lunch. You can possibly take out all time spent on these tasks. In such a scenario you will be left with around 4 hours of real work hours. Then why not try working from 9am to 2pm, figuring around 1 hour for couple of breaks. Here also you work 4 hours with likelihood of working with more energy and freshness.
Try doing this and be happy with results as you will have at least 3 hours free for yourself and your loved ones.
Do not get driven by to-do lists: In today’s world driven so much by notion of “Getting Things Done” and where the success of a cubicle jock (white collar worker) is measured by how much she is able to finish in a day. But living fully is not about this. Even if you are a compulsive list-maker then do not make a list with more than 3 items on it. When you do this you will end up accomplishing more over a period of time and also be more fulfilled.
Take care of your loved ones: If you want to be happy and feel fulfilled you need to spread good vibes around. When you take care of your loved ones well they will feel happy. Later when you look at their smiling faces you will also be happy. You can be a stay at home dad taking care of a kid or a house wife making meals for the family or a son or daughter serving parents in old page – each one of us has opportunity to spread good vibes.
Help those who you can do without but for whom your help can make or break it: It is important to help those who need your help. You possibly will be fine without these people being in your life; but their life will be a lot better with a little time that you give them or little help you extend. Think about it? Why this is important. When you do good, good things come to you. Practically speaking – you name and fame spread. Spiritually you collect good karma.
Live with gratitude: All of those who are successful to some extent owe it something or some people. One needs to be thankful to the nature which gave you birth in certain family, atmosphere, and times. For example, I feel all of us born in today’s world are fortunate with so much opportunity for so many of us around – only if some of us don’t abuse it by going overboard.
For some – a friend or a teacher may be a catalyst. For somebody from a lesser background a person’s father may have contributed by sacrificing his present for his son’s future. So be sure that you did not do it alone. Nobody does it alone. Thank those who helped you. If a person became a scientist then the authors whose work scientist read as a student need to be thanked. The doctor, who prescribed medicine when you were growing up and had fallen ill, needs to be thanked. If you look close enough, there are many people who need to be appreciated for one or another reason with a sense of gratitude. This will keep your feet grounded and make you feel blessed.
Give and learn to share: Don’t keep everything to yourself – money, ideas, good thoughts, knowledge and feelings – share these with people around. Be practical – in case of money you need some for yourself too but most of us will be fine with giving a little bit to those in need. Same is true of time. On the face of it money and time look like limited resources; but can be multiplied to a great extent if applied thoughtfully. Piece of writing that you reading right now took couple of hours of writing time but it has the potential to reach millions over a period of time. This obviously is a better solution than writing emails to a million people or talking to all of them over phone.
If you look at it living life to the fullest is not that difficult. You are a living being who eats, breathes, sleeps and talks. You just need to thank Mother Nature for brining all good things to your life. Sure there are not only ups in one’s life but some downs as well but one needs to take all these things as a learning lesson. Attempt to live consciously, put aside constant interruptions and engage in work that is meaningful and that is close to your heart.
Last but not the least; do not take life too seriously. Chill out, do not blame yourself if you were just passing time or even after reading this you continue to live like you were doing it earlier. You would be happy, satisfied and most likely a better man being for having tried.
For a happy, fuller life for all of you.
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