I can talk all about 10 ways to be more productive, find more time in your day, boost your bottom line, or simply get more and they would give you benefit. Yet as I was thinking about which “10” I wanted to write about today, I decided to get to the meat of the matter and talk about 10 ways you could add more meaning to your days. That means more meaning in your business or professional life and more meaning in general.
Truthfully without a sense of purpose, meaning, and connection, what’s the point? You can be the most driven woman on the planet, but if you’re lacking these, you’ll find yourself hollow and racked with sobs should you take a moment to contemplate how you’re spending your one precious life. So, tap into your power right here and now and try on these ideas for size.
1) Get Quiet
If you want to make sure you’re on track in your life and career, get quiet. Regular doses of complete quiet and stillness are key if you want to tune into your intuition and most wise self. If you don’t you’re left to the whims of the world tossing you about. I listened to Dr. Wendy Warner speak as a keynote the other day at an event where I was presenting and she really drove home the importance of being quiet to women’s health. Her suggestion was at least 5-15 minutes a day where you literally are quiet – no TV, no phones, cell phones, email, etc. Have your morning tea and stare at the bird feeder if you need to, but just get quiet for a moment and exhale.
2) Take Care of Yourself
Self-care is more than a bubble bath (though that can be good too!). I often talk a lot on this topic to groups because self-care forms the foundation for everything else we build, personally or professionally. You can’t build a career or business on a house of cards over a swamp, yet that is what we often try to do when we skip caring for ourselves in the process. My first foray into understanding what this really meant was when I started to discover Cheryl Richardson’s work about a decade ago. Her books Take Time for Your Life and The Art of Extreme Self-Care are classics and very workable for anyone to do.
3) Rest Well
Sleep. We all need it and without adequate quality sleep your life will be infinitely less meaningful because you’ll be too tired, wired, and stressed to enjoy it. While the occasional red-eye flight of coffee-driven day might be necessary along your way, it is not a life plan. Here are “14 Tips for Getting More Sleep – And Why It Matters”. It’ll make you happier, healthier, and allow more meaning to flow from your everyday.
4) Take Care of Your Dreams
While the day to day might not leave you very much time to nourish your dreams, you need to. Take time each day to care for you, to care for your life. Even if you can’t take time out each day to pursue your dreams (say by engaging in a hobby or doing something you really love) you can take time to honor that part of yourself. Notice and honor what you are feeling. Upgrade your mindset. Align your choices with what you really want rather than going with the flow. Tending to dreams can be as short and simple as choosing to spend your lunch break on your terms or it can be elaborate.
5) Get Moving
Our bodies were meant to move. The human body wasn’t built to sit in a chair all day tapping away on a keyboard or straining to have big fingers find little keys on a Blackberry. You don’t necessarily have to “workout” to experience the benefits of moving. Just get your body moving doing something you love. If you do like the idea of 10 minutes of exercise, that is a way to go too. It’s good for your mind, your health, and your energy. Not to mention movement can help you get unstuck no matter what the challenge.
6) Be Grateful
It’s easy to stay focused on what we don’t have or still want to achieve/acquire. Yet we’ll always want something else. A quick way to find meaning in your life is to be grateful for what is and the blessings you already have around you. If you can’t think of one, start with the fact that you are able to draw breath and be here right now. You can write down three things you are thankful for each day as in this daily practice or get creative with ways to exercise your gratitude muscle.
7) Connect with Someone
I don’t mean poke them on Facebook, Tweet them on Twitter, or send them an email. I mean literally connect with someone you like or care about in real-time. Call them out of the blue. Stop by. Be with them. Have you ever gotten an out of the blue call from someone you love? Now how good did that make you feel? Did it allow you to step back from your ledge of insanity? Did it allow you to sink in and remember why you wander the planet in the first place? Did you breathe a little deeper? Smile wider? Perhaps laugh? If these aren’t enough reasons to find meaning in your connection with others, I don’t know what is. Remember that tomorrow is promised to no one, so connect as often as you can.
Life is terminal, so just relax a bit, will you? Stress can and will kill you, or at the very least kill your spirit. So take the pressure off. Relax a bit. If you’re not sure what that means, you might enjoy this funny look at “The True Meaning of Relaxation”. While humorous some of the dictionary definitions of relaxation may spur you to just chill a bit. Turn the intensity dial down a hair. I know if can be hard, believe me I can be a person who runs at intensity dial 10, but remember you can’t drive all the time with the pedal to the metal.
9) Laugh Hard and Often
Laughter is just plain fun. In fact it is a form of exercise from the inside out. I know I used to laugh a ton when I worked in an office, if only at the absurdity of things that happened (Dilbert could be filed under nonfiction). Now that I work from a home office I laugh a lot less. Sure the cats or squirrels or birds offer a chuckle here and there but there’s a lot less of that full-blown hysterical laughter. I miss it. Laughter is good for what ails you and can help you cope with everything from mild depression to the rigors of day to day living. Not taking ourselves or life too seriously is paradoxically very important if you wish to mine the depths of deeper meaning in your world.
10) Embrace Mindfulness
Mindfulness is being aware of what we are doing and who we are being. Learning to be mindful is a life-long practice but can yield great benefits. If you’re not present with your experiences it’s almost impossible for them to be meaningful because you weren’t there at the party so to speak. Just by opening up to what is already in front of you can bring meaning flooding in (or perhaps the realization that changes are needed in your life so as to make it more aligned with who you are and what you want).
Not one of these 10 ways require that you take a huge chunk of time out of your busy schedule. In fact many of them can be practiced right in the flow of what you’re already doing. So remember, life is short, don’t miss it.
Originally posted at BlogHer