Optimize Your Life
Think about your favorite car. Now imagine this car has all the aftermarket parts you could imagine to increase speed, performance, and handling. But these parts have never been installed on the vehicle. They are sitting in the garage next to the car because the owner does not have time to install the parts. The owner also drives the car, in its current condition, so fast all day long he rarely slows down or stops to optimize the car’s performance. You also learn the owner does not know how to install the parts, nor are they taking the time to find out how to increase the performance. Thus, the car remains in its stock condition.
While this may be a familiar story in the car world, it is also a story which mirrors many of our lives. Many of us have tools or ideas which could optimize our performance in life or our careers. But we don’t know how to implement these ideas, so we are content to simply keep living our current life. We keep living our stock lives in our generic careers because we don’t know how to optimize our lives and live a life on our terms.
Then, if you are honest, your life is so chaotic and busy you are barely keeping your head above water. With all of the distractions you face on a daily basis from work, chores, family, social media, friends, or errands you are struggling to read past this blog because you are thinking about all the other activities you could, or should, be doing. In dealing with all of these distraction you don’t know when you would optimize your life, even if you could. To look at life, in its entirety, and see where you can streamline your efforts and goals for greater purpose and impact.
Usually, the only time you sit down to optimize your life is in the midst of some cataclysmic event or tragedy. When you are forced to take an honest look at how you are living life. In those moments, you not only are not installing the performance parts on your car, you are barely keeping up with the routine maintenance. If you only pay attention to your car when a light comes on or you hear a noise it will usually be too late. This “light” in our lives is usually a call from your doctor, getting laid off from your job, or your spouse walking out the door. While these situations will force you to take an honest look at yourself, there are plenty of tasks you can do to not only maintain your life, but begin to fully optimize life.
1) Focus on Your Why?
The first step you have to complete in optimizing your life is to find your purpose. What is your why? Why do you work, what is your purpose in life, why do you make certain decisions? Until this one question is answered most people will go whichever way the wind blows. But if you ask “WHY?” then you have a center focus which all your other questions in life can revolve around.
When you know your why, you have direction and purpose in all you do. An illuminated pathway has been placed before you to highlight the road you will travel. You don’t need to get too hung up on this principal, it can change or evolve throughout your life. The point is providing yourself with a solid foundation which you can build your life and make consistent decisions to highlight your journey.
2) Eliminate Distractions
The next step in this process will be to eliminate distractions in your life. This is the beauty of your purpose. It gives you the ability to say “no”, which is an extremely powerful word. Successful people say no far more than yes. When you know your purpose and your pathway is lit, then it makes it far easier to stay on track. But that doesn’t mean you will not get distracted.
This is where you need to be diligent about eliminating the distractions in your life. Taking an inventory of how you are spending your time and eliminating the time wasters which are affecting your overall purpose. This could be social media, television, playing games on your phone, or mindlessly watching YouTube videos. Or it could be more strategic. Do you have meetings spread out through the week distract you more from your core work than having them all on the same day? Do you need to have set times where you check and respond to emails or voicemail? Overall how can you structure your days in order to maximize your time and optimize how you are using your time?
3) Intentional Hustle
Once you have found your purpose and then eliminated distraction it opens up a unique ability to hustle with intention and purpose. Finding your purpose is not a magical unicorn where everyone will rush to sit at your feet and hear your wisdom. You are still going to have to work, to put the time and effort into succeed. But now your time is no longer wasted. You are hustling with purpose and streamlining your days to complete more in less time.
This also does not mean you are working 18 hours days to accomplish your dreams. This is madness. Your hustle, is your hustle, it means doing the best you can with the energy and time you posses. Do not get too caught up in the go 90mph mantra which is being spread through the universe. Work as hard as possible within your own abilities to achieve what you propose. That is your hustle!
4) Stick to a Plan
Many people frown upon planning. I hear quite frequently “I don’t use a planner” or “daily planning is not for me.” My response to these types of statements is generally, “Then how do you know how you spend your time?” If you are going to optimize your life, then you have to be extremely efficient with your time. The only way to accomplish this task is to plan. With a daily or weekly plan, you can keep track of those tasks which are important and align to your goals. But you can also eliminate those tasks which are taking you from your purpose.
Planning also gives you the ability to see how “life” is affecting your time and purpose. We all have those necessary tasks we have to run throughout our day; the errands, exercising, kids activities, community events, time with friends. These are all great, and in their place useful, but they can also quickly overtake any free time you might have on your calendar. By planning your days and weeks you begin to see how these activities fit into your overall schedule and gives you the ability to manage them, and your time, more effectively.
5) Be Flexible
No matter how well aligned you have your purpose and have planned your time, there will always be curve balls thrown at you. This is inevitable and unavoidable. So be flexible. You are going to fail, you are going to miss the mark, and you are going to have circumstances come your way which are completely outside of your control. No matter where you are or what you are doing give yourself the grace and flexibility to fail, to reschedule, to make alternative plans. In attempting to optimize your life and live a life on your terms, this could be the greatest gift you ever give yourself.
If there is no space in your life for failure then you will generally live with constant frustration. If events or tasks don’t turn out as planned you will eventually become angry and bitter at not “succeeding”. This is why being flexible is so important. Living a frustrated life is no life at all. You can learn a tremendous amount about yourself, your life, your goals, and your direction through failures and unforeseen circumstances. But this is only if you allow yourself the flexibility to look at them properly and make adjustments on the fly. You will find yourself much calmer and surprisingly more productive if you plan flexibility into your schedule.
How are you going to optimize your life this week? Look around you and discover all the “performance” parts lying around waiting to be installed in your life. Then take the time to plan out how you are going to install these parts for maximum effeciency and effectiveness. Own you journey and live a raging life on your terms.
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