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5 Counterintuitive Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Time

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Do you think you’ll accomplish everything you want to before you die? Do you sometimes worry you won’t reach your goals? Do you have a plan to get what you want? If you’re like most people, you often have trouble squeezing in everything you want to do during the day, week or month, let alone everything you might want to accomplish in a lifetime. Updates from friends on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat come in to your phone at all hours of the day and night. Invites to activities, events, festivals, etc. blow up your phone on a regular basis.

At the office, things aren’t much better. Your Outlook inbox explodes with messages from clients, colleagues, or your boss, and everyone wants something different. You use multiple tools for managing your tasks, and every month something new seems to come out which promises to save you time and reduce the number of distractions in your life. Let me break the bad news, it won’t.

The truth is, you have more time than you think to accomplish what you want out of life. As of 2016, men tend to live on average 69 years, versus 72 years for women. If most people start work at 18 and continue on until retirement around 65, this means you spend 47 years of your life working. You have, most likely, more time than you think to accomplish all that you want to do in this life. I urge you to slow down and take a few of these suggestions to heart as you think about how to get the most out of your days in the future.

Here are 5 ways to make the most out of your time here on earth:

1. Take personal days

The idea of taking a personal day has been around for a long time, but few people really consider the value of taking one on a regular basis. Whether this means leaving work early on the third Friday of every month to do some “life-admin” or taking an entire day off in the middle of the week once a month to rigorously outline your plans and objectives for the future, the value of a personal day dedicated to reflection and personal development is completely underrated in today’s go-go society. I would urge you to set aside an entire day (half-days won’t work, as they are likely to be encroached upon) and make a concerted effort to spend that time reflecting about what you want to accomplish and the steps you will take to get there.

 “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that other throw at him.” – David Brinkley

2. Structure in blank space for distraction free work

While taking time off to plan out your life and checking your personal progress is great, it is also important to structure small blocks of personal “switch off” time to let your mind wander during the typical work week. This may mean structuring in “strategic blocks” of one to two hours as suggested by Brian Moran and Michael Lennington in their book The 12 Week Year, or it may mean making a regular habit of doing “30 before 7:30” (30 minutes of concentrated work before 7:30am each morning) as suggested by Mel Robbins in her book The 5 Second Rule. Whatever you do, make sure you allow yourself some distraction free work time so that you can get into the flow.

3. Leave technology behind

We are tethered to our devices like never before, and we are rarely out of arm’s reach of something that can connect us to anyone (or any piece of information) in the world. I say this with some trepidation, because I am not entirely pleased about it. Sure, it is fantastic to have access to a device that can allow us to order food, call a car, create a professional looking video clip or photo, and post updates online all in the space of a few seconds, but it comes at a price.

Despite having the freedom to connect with anyone and do nearly anything from behind a touch screen device, we have effectively become servants for the same network of interconnected apps and platforms. So, at the risk of having you stop reading this article, I urge you to put down your device for at least 1 day a week and connect with people in more humanistic (face to face) ways.

4. Spend time with others not like you

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Think hard about that, because it will help define how you spend the rest of your life. If you believe that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you will need to be careful that you spend time with people that add to your life, rather than detract from it.

The more time you spend with people that come from similar backgrounds and share similar views as you, the more you will become closed off to the world around you. This is an easy habit to fall into, but it is one that can have dire consequences if you are serious about stretching yourself and reaching lofty goals. Go out and explore, and spend time with people that push you in new and exciting ways.

“I never dreamed about success, I worked for it.” – Estee Lauder

5. Have more fun

I have noticed more and more that people tend to take pride in how stressed out they are and how much they work when they’re in the office. They then swing to the opposite extreme during the weekends, getting belligerently drunk and partying or staying in and watching Netflix for 48 hours straight. This is no way to live. It’s easy for me to call out because, truth be told, I used to be this way.

Too often, people find themselves caught up in a world that promotes stress, anxiety and long-hours as a badge of honor. Rather than promote and support this type of behavior by falling into the trap of stress and anxiety caused by overwork, look for ways to have fun in the moment. Talk to colleagues, give compliments, make connections, learn new things, and just try to connect with others.

Remember, you’ve likely got around 65-80 years on this planet, you don’t want to spend the majority of that time stressed out, waiting for the weekend. Instead, take to heart a few of these counterintuitive tricks and embrace every day with newfound appreciation. You won’t regret it, I promise.

How do you maximize your time? Comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

McVal is the founder of We Write For Growth, a platform for businesses to connect with talented writers and researchers and growth hackers. He is also the author of How to Make $2,000 a Month Online and Start Up your Life: Why we don’t know what we want, and how to set goals that really matter. McVal writes about motivation, decision making, and strategic thinking. He graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2011 with a degree in Spanish, and has since worked as a market researcher and business consultant in Washington D.C., New York City and London. You can reach him on Twitter @mcval or on IG @mcvaliant. 

Life

A Simple but Effective Technique to Be More Confident

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Many people want to learn how to be confident in different situations, but it’s not always easy. Maybe we’re too addicted to comparing ourselves or maybe social media has brainwashed us to believe that we should all be rich, famous, and in incredible shape. (more…)

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Knowing Your Message vs Delivering Your Message

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Have you ever sent a text message only to have it misinterpreted by the person reading it? Happens all the time. Have you ever given a presentation that you were totally prepared for only to have it fall flat? Happens all the time. Have you ever had someone ask you something like, “Why are you mad?” when you were not at all mad? Happens all the time. (more…)

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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​​4 Boss Level Growth Strategies That Create an Optimized Life

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Building a business is about more than sales, marketing, and flexing on social media. While those things tend to draw attention, they attract the wrong type of clients and are not how you build a sustainable and freedom-focused business. (more…)

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