Recently I had to attend the funeral of my aunt, very sad occasion as you would expect. From a large East London family, she was one of nine siblings, my dad being one of them so you can imagine the number of cousins that were there mourning my aunts passing. As is usual at these occasions the talk goes something like this “It’s a shame we only see each other at funerals!” or “We must get together more often!” or “It makes you realise that you should make the most of every day!” or “We should Make The Most Of Every Day!”
We also hear this a lot don’t we? “Live every day as if it were your last” – or at least know someone who has the inspirational wall decal and a ‘Carpe Diem’ tattoo. The words scream at us from posters and advertising, songs and movies; but the truth of the matter is, that if we really did live every day as if it were our last, it’s likely the world would be plunged into chaos. The majority of the ‘normal’ things that tend to make up our daily routine still have to be done; the kids have to be fed and cared for and sent to school, we still have to work, and society still has to be maintained.
We can’t simply throw all caution to the wind, abandon all reason and live a lifelong party. Which is why I prefer the mantra, ‘Making The Most Of Everyday’ – (#MTMOED) now THAT is doable. On average we get to enjoy 25,915 days on this planet, and the key is to make every one of those count; but it is all too easy to believe we are immortal, and that we’ll make the most of ‘tomorrow.’ However, why don’t we make every day count now, while we have thousands of days rather than hundreds – or tens!
So what exactly does it mean; Making the most of every day? And how do we do it? To make the most of every day is to live productively and intentionally, and to make conscious decisions that will make our lives happy and fulfilled. It is about not wasting time just waiting for things to happen – it is about getting out there and making the most of every opportunity that we have. Sounds simple enough, but we all know that it is easy for our daily lives to swallow us up, and before we know it that positive ‘making the most’ mindset has become mired in routine and drudgery.
Here are some tips of changes you can make that will allow you to create and prosper from the ‘Making The Most Of Everyday’ mindset, and make it work for you.
● Early To Rise – You can’t make the most of your day if half of it is over before you get up, and while it is true that a lot of people feel they are more productive in the evening, and everyone loves a lie in – life happens during the day, and to make the most of it we need to experience it. It is in the daytime that the majority of business deals are struck, networking opportunities present themselves, customers are buying, trades are trading, and you are able to participate in human interaction with those you love and care about. Making the most of those opportunities that present themselves during the day is sure to instil a sense of accomplishment and wellbeing. So set an alarm and start a new habit of being an early bird! Being a night owl should be the exception – not the rule.
● Set Goals – Setting daily goals will help keep you on track when it comes to making the most of your day. Operating without a plan, or trying to operate with too big a plan, can make even the simplest of daily tasks seem overwhelming. The key to having a productive day is to set small and manageable goals and then manage your time effectively in order to complete them. ‘Organise the spare room’ sounds a little overwhelming, and maybe not achievable in one day, but ‘organise that drawer today’ is a much more manageable task, and is a lot more likely to be completed in the time frame. Completing a small task will leave you feeling satisfied and give you a sense of achievement; whereas failing to complete a large task will just make you feel stressed, and much more likely to write the whole day off. Organising that drawer will motivate you to keep going the next day, and the next, until the whole room is done. Another tip is to write those goals down. You are much more likely to focus and complete them if they are visible, rather than just thoughts that can evaporate into the air as you get distracted by other things.
● Live In The Moment – You simply can’t make the most out of today if your mind is occupied with next Wednesday, or next month, or next year. Of course, we know we need to be aware of future appointments or events; but write them down in a planner or diary, don’t fret and worry about what might happen, and then participate in today; be present. Don’t let the potential events of the future take up your time today. We don’t live in the future, or the past for that matter, we live NOW – as do our passions and loved ones. If you find your mind wandering to other time zones you can break them down by switching your brain and focusing on something that is in the now in order to bring you back to the present; the pen in your hand, the rain on the window, the other person in the room. Focus on NOW and you will find that you will become a lot more productive. Do It Now!
● Learn To Prioritise – It is a fact that in life you make time for what you want; the phrase ‘I don’t have time’, is uttered by many, but meant by no one. To make the most of our days we need to prioritise our lives, instead of clinging onto ‘I don’t have the time’. If you believe that time constraints are stopping you from doing something you want to do (attend that party, go to the gym), then change your mindset! Instead of blaming it on a lack of time, own the decision by saying ‘it’s not a priority.’ By training your brain to use that phrase instead you can live more intentionally by reminding yourself that you choose what you do and what you ‘don’t have time’ for, not the clock.
● Follow Your Dreams – We are all unique individuals who must follow our own paths, and often one of the things expressed by those who are very old or ill is that they regret living the life expected of them, rather than the life they wanted. Don’t let that be one of your regrets. Friends and family may well express their worries about you setting up a new business, or moving abroad, for example, but we are not the expectations of others. It is up to you to assess the risks of doing the things you want; of following your dreams and indulging your passions. Go for that promotion, start that business, confess your undying love; and do it now. Sure, you might not hit every target, but that is better to shoot your shot than to live with regret and not know what might have been.
● Maintain Human Connections – In this day and age of mobile phones, Skype, and social media, it is easier than ever to stay in touch with those we love, and yet simultaneously easy to miss out on the human interaction with those we care about. It is important to stay in touch with those we love. I’m not talking about maintaining those relationships that might be toxic or damaging to us simply because we have loved them in the past, or even continue to do so, I’m talking about those who enrich our lives, and it is easy to let family, friends – even spouses – drift away over time as we stop making them a priority and allow work or other things to take over and become our sole focus. But making the most of every day has to include communicating with and loving those important people in our lives – on every one of those 25,915 days.
It is always worth remembering that tomorrow is not promised, so don’t put off living in the moment. Make the most of every day, starting the day and to help reinforce the habit and before you do anything else, the moment you put your feet on the floor say to your self “Make The Most Of Every Day!” #MTMOED
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