So much of the modern approach to work is based on an antiquated model that is very narrow in scope. You show up in the morning, you work for eight to ten hours, and you go home. Five days a week. The problem with this model is that very few people can actually be productive for that long of a stretch and be consistent for several days in a row. We end up with many people finding ways around this challenge. They break up their days into chunks of time when they are more or less productive, creative, and social. Then they schedule their days accordingly, so that they are not just doing the same thing (or failing to do the same thing) for the whole day. Of course, some people don’t have that luxury and have to do the best they can and try to muscle their way through the day. It’s not ideal.
But what if we considered a different approach? One that takes advantage of the ebbs and flows of individuals’ energy. One that isn’t tied to specific times during the day. One that focuses on the work instead of on the time spent working.
As we move through our lives, most of us are working to make our lives better: happier, healthier, and more meaningful. We may work on these elements consistently, or we may follow fads and have multiple false starts along the way. In the midst of our busy lives, it can be quite challenging to pay attention to what is needed to achieve our most basic goals in life. But without accomplishing these goals, we are considerably less likely to achieve our more lofty ones. How many of us pay attention to the foundation needed to work on those basic goals—the elemental pieces of a happier, healthier, more meaningful life? It’s not complicated—eat right and exercise, get plenty of sleep, keep your stress level down—but it is onerous. It takes discipline, proactivity, an open mind, and consistency. We have to be intentional about our foundations or they will not happen. Although everyone’s foundation may be slightly different, we all have basic requirements that include sleep, nutrition, exercise, and mental/emotional health. Many would also add spirituality to this list. But whatever our foundation consists of, it’s important to be specific and intentional and follow through on our goals for each of these elements.
Do you ever go through periods feeling that you’re just not satisfied?
We all have times when we’re not happy about the way our lives are going. Everything may be fine, or even good, but life can still seem mundane or ordinary. When no milestones are happening, when we’re in the doldrums between vacations, or when there’s nothing but routine, it can seem as if our lives aren’t special or extraordinary. Life satisfaction doesn’t mean settling for a life that is less than what you want it to be—it means accepting and living in the moment to the fullest. It means making the most of what you have while being open to opportunities and potential change. It means acknowledging and being grateful for the good things in your life and having a plan for addressing the aspects of your life that aren’t what you want. Life satisfaction means choosing to be happy now—not at some point in the future.
We have to have some self-control or we wouldn’t be able to get by in life. We (at least most of us) have to get ourselves up in the morning, go to work, and generally do a lot of things that aren’t consistent with our impulse of the moment. So, some self-control is vital, but many of us get too hung up when we’re not as disciplined as we believe we should be, or when we’re disciplined about things that aren’t that beneficial to us. Having a good sense of our self-control and discipline and how it impacts our lives can help us develop an appropriate level of discipline and target it more effectively.
Taking care of yourself is not optional.Many of us, when prioritizing our time and assessing our demands and opportunities, put things like exercise, meditation, and communing with nature pretty low on the list. They might feel that they have to take care of tasks that are required or necessary before activities that they might feel are luxuries or are self-indulgent.But self-care is not “time off” or down time. It is a critical part of living a healthy and balanced life.