Fill in the following statements: “I’ll enjoy my life when…” and “My life will be perfect when…” Did you say something about a job, a home, a certain kind of partner? Did you mention weight loss? While I’m all for goals, sometimes these goals become roadblocks to our current happiness.
I hear so many people talk about what they’ll do “someday,” usually after they’ve retired (which could be decades away). My question is, why wait? I don’t believe in trading in tomorrow for today. I believe in balancing the two: Work on your goals for part of your daily life now but also make time today for something you enjoy.
Taking the time to do something you enjoy can be tough to do with our busy, modern lives. Everything—and everyone—seems to want our attention. But having fun is crucial to both our mental and physical well being.
Stress is a leading factor in all kinds of serious ailments, including depression, heart attacks, headaches, stomach aches, chronic fatigue and much more. Taking a break to do something you enjoy can help relieve stress. It also can refresh you and make you happier overall.
Since it plays such a vital role in our overall well-being, I would say that having fun isn’t optional—it’s necessary. But how can you have more fun when your to-do list seems to never stop growing?
You can start simply by changing your outlook—but there are also practical steps you can take to have more time for enjoyment. It may seem like another thing for you to do but I guarantee that if you follow the six steps below, you’ll experience more fun and joy and potentially change your life forever!
It Starts With Gratitude
First, be grateful for what you have now. It’s amazing how much people take for granted day in and day out. If you’re healthy, be grateful. If your loved ones are healthy, be grateful. If you have a partner who is kind and loves you, be grateful. If you have money to buy groceries, be grateful.
Think about the other things you can be grateful for. Write them down or put them in your phone. Look at this list often, especially whenever you’re feeling down or frustrated.
Appreciate the small things, too, and enlist your senses: Take a moment to listen to the birds chirping or the purr of a cat; enjoy the smell of a flower or some fresh-baked cookies. This can create its own joy, which will contribute to your overall happiness and satisfaction. And the even better news is that you can enjoy these things for little to no money.
You Career and the 3 P’s (Passion, Purpose and Profit)
Your work should be an extension of you. It should fulfill you and be in a field that you love. Does your current job make you happy? Is it bringing in enough money for you to live comfortably? If not, consider switching.
Not liking your work can be a major roadblock to your current happiness. I don’t want you to spend years “waiting” to be happy while you stick it out in a job you hate. That’s way too long of a wait! Believe it or not, there are people out there who love what they do. (I know! Crazy!!) I love doing this blog. Making this a career actually makes me happy. I want you to feel the same way about the work you do, too.
If you like what you do but it’s not bringing in enough money, you can usually find a way to make more. Not making enough can cause it’s own stress and I believe people should love their work and get paid well to do it.
I’ve written several articles on how to move to a career you love that also brings you the income you deserve. If you don’t like your current job, or wish you could stay in the field you’re at but make more money, try reading these articles:
Get and Stay Organized By Using Systems
Clutter equals confusion so spend some time each week to get and stay organized. Use designated areas so that you don’t waste time looking for lost keys, cell phones or papers and you don’t miss a bill payment or appointment.
Systems can help you stay organized. They save time and frustration and should be used in both work and our personal lives. A system can be something small—like how you pay your bills each month—to something larger, like a process your company uses to invoice customers. What systems do you currently use and have in place in your life?
While getting organized, think about what systems you can create to make life easier for you in the future. Go through your papers, your cupboards, your closet and anything else that is a mess. Create a system that you can use to prevent the clutter from creeping back in. For example, I created a system to help my closet stay organized by using color-coded containers for different colored shirts—white shirts in one bin, black shirts in another etc.
Another system you need is one that takes advantage of compound interest. Compound interest can even the most modest of earners into millionaires over time. It’s important that you understand how it works and if you don’t, I highly recommend you check out my article Compound Interest and Passive Income: A Simple Explanation That Will Transform Your Financial Future.
Once you’ve read that article, f you haven’t already, set up a monthly auto-debit for money that goes directly into an investment account. Then consider buying stable, dividend stocks with it. The sooner the money goes in and you invest it, the bigger the impact it will have on your future net worth.
Build Your Personal Team
The next step is to enlist help. It’s impossible to do everything ourselves. We can’t change the oil in our cars, fix our own cell phones, create all of our food from scratch and sew our own clothes and still expect to have a life. Getting your personal team in place can help you achieve a more fulfilling and rewarding life.
A team goes beyond the work environment, as I explain in Get the Right Team to Achieve Your Dreams. Finding the right dry cleaner babysitter, gardener etc can help keep your life running smoothly.
Think about who can you hire on the cheap to help you save time: a cleaning lady who comes in once a week, a grocery delivery service, a dog walker, a babysitter, an assistant or maybe even a retired relative who needs something to do or some extra cash. You can also check out sites like fiverr.com or freelancer.com to help you with your business—or get your side gig off the ground—if you have one.
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Life can become overwhelming that way. In order to get done more in less time, you have to use leverage in the form of other people, which I explain more of in my article The Secret to Wealth Creation: How to Use Leverage in Daily Life and Business.
Put Yourself On Your Calendar
Once you have the above steps into place, plan something just for you every day. Yes, every day! In today’s busy lives, it’s easy to feel like there’s no time to do something enjoyable for ourselves. But taking a break is as crucial as our jobs, paying bills and taking care of our health. It gives you that mental pause so that you can go back to work and your to-do list refreshed.
Doing something you enjoy doesn’t always have to be a time-consuming event. It can be something small that you do for just fifteen or thirty minutes a day—like watching your favorite TV show, playing with your dog or taking a walk.
And when the time comes up each day for you to do “your thing”, try not to miss it for anything. Hit pause on your to-do list and your worries. Forget about the dishes in the sink, the five pounds you want to lose or that frustrating relative. Immerse yourself in the moment and savor it.
Being present in what you’re doing—and not focusing on disappointments of the past or worries of the future—is key to leading a fulfilling life. As Elyssa Barbash Ph.D. says in her article “Mindfulness and Being Present in the Moment,” on psychologytoday.com, “Those who live in the moment tend to be happier, calmer and more relaxed, and appreciative.”
I’ve learned to do this myself. I used to have “rushed fun.” Believe it or not, I used to see doing something enjoyable as a waste of time and I would “hurry up” and do it, all the while worrying about that never-ending to-do list that was waiting for me at home.
Eventually I realized that the to-do list will always be there. I was giving it too much head space, which was causing me more stress and turning the to-do list into a much bigger deal than it actually was. Now when I’m doing something I enjoy, I mentally put aside anything else. This allows me to come back to work and the chores feeling refreshed. It also helps me to feel more in control of my life.
Know and Protect Who You Are
As I discuss in my article How to Bring More Money and Fun Into Your Life, part of enjoying life to its fullest is to find inner peace. A big part of that comes from knowing who you are and protecting your individuality.
In our daily lives of working, paying bills, running errands and other tasks that can make us feel overwhelmed, it’s easy to forget what really matters to us, our own likes and dislikes and what activities put smiles on our faces.
That’s why taking some time to “play” is so important—it reconnects us to ourselves. Don’t feel guilty for taking the time to do something you enjoy. It will help keep your soul replenished and bring you more peace. And when you feel at peace, you can make better decisions about your career, your finances and your life in general.:)
Are you willing to take some or all of these steps to make room for more enjoyment in your life? Do you feel you are able to keep a work-life balance and if so, what are some of the things you do to maintain it? I would love to hear your ideas, suggestions or concerns! Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Au revoir, namaste and until next time!