No matter how much we want to believe that we can alter our limits by how much coffee we consume or how many worst-case-scenarios we dream up to scare ourselves with, the truth is that we weren't born to be productivity machines. It's not only unnatural to do as much as we try to do in a day, but most of us don't even truly want to do it all anyway. What's the point of proving that you can cook three Pinterest-inspired meals while drinking fine wine, nail all 34 tasks you have to do at the office, take a spin class, make time for your partner, read, meditate, and post snaps of it all online? Just so you can... keep doing it?
The point is that what most people really want is to have a very healthy, stable standing in the few areas of their lives that matter most. It's not only that it's healthier and more realistic to streamline and truly focus on what matters — most of the time, it's what we truly desire regardless.
You may assume that the issue is discerning what really matters to you, but in reality, it's usually more being able to get rid of everything that doesn't. On this front, we all have a lot of work to do. We funnel our daily energy into things that ultimately don't matter and we don't care about anyway. Some people may have more energy than others, but we all have the same number of hours in the day. Here, a few ways you're taking energy away from what really matters (and wasting it on many things that don't).
Ascribing Meaning To Benign Things
Every tweet is a subtweet if you're paranoid enough about it. If you want to believe that someone cut you off because they hate you or boss is out to get you or your weird former friend from college is totally posting snarky things that reference you indirectly — you will find evidence to prove this to yourself. And when you do, what you will find is that there's nothing you can do about it anyway. It most likely means nothing more than whatever you think it does. Change the way you look at things, and the things you look like change — eh?
Checking Your Messages Constantly But Never Answering Them
Respond to texts as you get them, and just try to only check your inbox only one or two times throughout the morning. You'll instantly realize that your normal rate is no less than 25 checks per morning, yet, you're no more responsive to those messages when you're checking them all the time.
A Chaotic Morning Routine
We all know that morning routines are crucial, but they're not all built the same. Unless your morning routine really sets you up for achieving your long-term goals, maximizing your health and making you feel great for the rest of the day, it's not actually helpful. Create a routine that's designed around what you want, not what you think or assume you should be doing. (For example: writing in a gratitude journal when you wake up as opposed to going to the gym.)
Choosing Clothes As A Social Statement, Not A Personal One
If you can't just go to your closet and choose something to wear without a 15 minute long stressful ordeal, you either have too much clothing, or too much clothing that is ill-fitted and not really your style. When you have a concise wardrobe containing what you like and what works for you, putting something together the night before you have to be somewhere should be effortless. Otherwise, it creates a lot of stress surrounding self-esteem and appearance, not to mention the prospect of being uncomfortable all day long.
Whatever You Put Before Sleep
It is with rare exception that anything is more important than your rest. Your work, and your life, is a product of you. If you aren't taking care of yourself in this most fundamental way, it's going to show in the rest of your life. Remember that you are not here to serve your work, your work is here to serve you.
The Drama Of People You Aren't Actually Invested In
We all entertain the drama of people we don't actually care much about pretty regularly. Between Facebook feeds, the coworker who tells you about her pending divorce for two hours a day, and the one random aunt who always calls with gossip, it's easy to get sucked into other people's issues, but a very firm (yet unaggressive) note that you actually have to wrap the conversation up after 10 or so minutes does the trick well to get you back on your merry way.
Wondering What You're "Supposed" To Be Doing
You are supposed to be doing whatever you are doing right now. There is no great, mystical scheme that you can somehow tap into and then by the virtue of your knowing, wait for your life to unfold seamlessly. Focus less on what things mean and focus more on what they are. If you're putting forth your best effort, you'll know whether or not it feels right. (By the way, it can feel "right" even if it's hard or challenging. There's a difference.) Regardless: even if you knew every answer to your life, you'd still have to live it out regardless (except wouldn't it be much less fun that way?).
Images: Giphy (3); Unsplash