I am willing to bet that at some point last week, you felt overwhelmed. Modern living makes it easy to feel overwhelmed. You may run around all day and have little to show for it. Would you like to achieve more while doing less? I am willing to bet that you will feel more grateful if you are able to do less and achieve more! Take a look at the benefits of streamlining your schedule and strategies for paring down your activities.
Benefits of Doing Less and Achieving More
- Make more progress. You may worry that doing less will keep you from getting through your to-do list. In reality, focusing your efforts will help you accomplish more.
- Feel more creative. Idle moments trigger innovation. You may suddenly realize what color to paint your dining room walls or find comforting words to say to a friend who’s going through a divorce.
- Experience less anxiety. A to-do list that stretches to infinity is bound to make you worry. Imagine how much lighter you’ll feel when you set realistic expectations.
- Enhance your physical health. Many physical disorders are aggravated by stress. We all are trying to do too much, which is causing unnecessary pressure. A simpler life could help you get rid of frequent headaches and colds.
- Enjoy life more. Most of all, you’ll find more pleasure and satisfaction in what you do each day. You’ll be drawing on your strengths and devoting your time to what really matters to you. After all, gratitude comes from enjoying life more regardless of what is happening to you.
Strategies for Doing Less and Achieving More
- Establish priorities. Identify your top three priorities. Maybe you treasure your family or your musical ability.
- Banish clutter. An orderly environment promotes efficiency. Find a system that works for you.
- Turn off technology. You can keep your smart phone. Just shut it off occasionally.
- Reduce distractions. Step back from old-fashioned distractions, too. Limit your trips to the mall if they tend to turn into extensive shopping sprees that cost you time and money. There’s no reason for unnecessary stress.
- Downplay being busy. Some people brag about being extremely busy. Resist the urge to compete.
- Focus on quality. Shift your focus to getting the results you want. Select tasks that motivate you to strive for excellence. The quality of your achievements is much more important than the quantity.
- Slow down. Avoid being in a rush. A deliberate pace is better suited for the long haul. For example, gradual weight loss is more effective than crash dieting every summer.
- Do one thing at a time. Most experts are skeptical about multitasking. Complete one task before moving to the next. This will allow you to give the proper care and consideration to each item on your list.
- Pay attention. Concentrate on the present moment. Get absorbed in cooking dinner or participating in a video conference call. Avoid letting yourself get distracted by everything else.
- Play around. Appreciate the value of unstructured play. Toss a ball around with your kids or watch your dog explore a new park.
- Take naps. If it’s difficult for you to get uninterrupted sleep at night, consider making up the deficit with daily naps. As little as 10 minutes of afternoon slumber can be very refreshing.
- Breathe deeply. If you need to be on your feet all day, use your breath to recharge your energies. Breathe with your whole body. Feel your abdomen rise and fall. Notice how your spine relaxes.
- Pause frequently. Look forward to being kept waiting. Use the time while you’re standing in line at the grocery store to plan your afternoon. When you’re in a quiet parking lot, reflect for a few moments before starting your car engine.
- Begin the day with a positive mindset. Set the alarm 10 minutes earlier so you can avoid racing around in the morning. Meditate briefly before getting out of bed. Try something as simple as hanging an inspirational quote in your bedroom so it’s the first thing you see each morning.
- Review before bed. Simplifying your life is an ongoing process. Check in each evening to see how you’re doing. Reflect on what went well and what could have gone better that day. Then plan for the next day, keeping in mind what adjustments you can make.
Take greater control of how you spend your time. Set your priorities and engage in activities that are meaningful for you. Your days will feel less stressful and be more productive. Of course, the levels of gratitude you will experience will increase significantly!
Studies confirm that some people feel inspired more often than the rest of us. Do you regularly feel inspired? Typically, when you are feeling inspired, you feel more grateful.
While those moments of revelation may seem elusive, the impact is powerful. The more you feel inspired, the more inspired you will feel! It is an AWESOME cycle!
In addition to the initial exhilaration, inspiration can make you more productive and successful. You perform better and enjoy your work more.
The good news is that these same studies suggest habits that you can cultivate that will bring more enthusiasm into your activities. Try these tips to awaken your inner muse.
How to Feel Inspired More Often
1. Take action. There are better strategies than sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike. You’re more likely to gain insights while you’re working on a project rather than putting it off until you feel more motivated. Start writing your first novel or contact acquaintances who might want to invest in your start-up business.
2. Focus on intrinsic motivation. Inspiration is more abundant when you’re engaged in activities that you value for their own sake. Put aside thoughts about competing with others or earning money. Contemplate how much you enjoy singing in the church choir or riding your bike.
3. Head outdoors. Sunlight and natural beauty make your mind more receptive. Pack a picnic lunch and take a hike.
4. Appreciate art. Visit an art museum to learn from old masters or browse through an auction catalog. Examining the work of others can prepare you for your own breakthroughs.
5. Learn about science. Science is another field that offers opportunities to unleash your own genius. Scan the latest headlines about progress in medical research or renewable energy.
6. Express gratitude. However we describe inspiration, it usually has something to do with transcending our ordinary experiences. Pick something you tend to take for granted and look at it more closely. Feel thankful for rain and squirrels.
7. Meditate and pray. Many adults associate inspiration with their spiritual practices. Schedule time each day to read something that touches your heart. Talk with others about how you connect with the divine. Develop a daily meditation practice or attend worship services.
How to Sustain Your Inspiration
1. Set goals. Inspiration tends to reinforce itself. Translate your visions into challenging goals. Once you reach them, use that motivation to create new goals that aim even higher.
2. Go public. You’re more likely to implement your inspiration when you share it with others. If you tell your boss that you have a plan for cutting travel costs, she’s probably going to expect a status report soon. When your kids know that you figured out a way to afford a family ski vacation, they’ll remind you to pack your suitcases.
3. Think positive. Inspiration and optimism go hand in hand. When you’re cheerful and upbeat, you’re more receptive to fresh ideas and making changes.
4. Study role models. Of course, bringing your eureka moments to life still requires courage and effort. Imagine how your mentor or a historical figure you admire would rise to the challenge.
5. Develop patience. Inspiration can be a sudden flash of lightening, but it may also be a long process. You’ll need to persevere if you want to realize the full benefits of a promising opportunity.
6. Stay fit. Considering the close connection between body and mind, it’s natural that staying healthy invites more inspirational moments into your days and nights. Exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet full of natural foods, and enjoy plenty of good quality sleep and rest.
Prepare yourself to experience more brainstorms and apply them to your daily life. Drawing on inspiration nourishes creativity and hope. You’ll achieve more and find the journey more pleasant.
Today’s Gratitude Burst was a Native American Saying that reminded me of how Gratitude and good things are always coming to us. We might not know what it is, or what to expect, but they are coming.
The Burst reminded me of the lyrics to the song from West Side Story, Somethings Coming. Tony, the male lead, gets a feeling that something is going to happen that day – he is not sure what – but he knows, something is coming. It is that night that he meets, and falls in love, with Maria.
These lyrics certainly apply to gratitude as well.
There’s something due any day
I will know right away
Soon as it shows
It may come cannonballin’ down through the sky
Gleam in its eye
Bright as a rose!
It’s only just out of reach
Down the block, on a beach
Under a tree
I got a feeling there’s a miracle due
Gonna come true
Coming to me
Could it be?
Yes it could
If I can wait
Something’s coming I don’t know what it is
But it is
Gonna be great!
With a click
With a shock
Open the latch!
Something’s coming, don’t know when
But it’s soon
Catch the moon
One handed catch
Around the corner
Or whistling down the river
Come on – deliver
Will it be? Yes it will
Maybe just by holding still
It’ll be there!
Come on, something, come on in
Don’t be shy
Meet a guy
Pull up a chair
The air is hummin’
And something great is coming
It’s only just
Out of reach
Down the block, on a beach
The Gratitude Guru
This was posted on Facebook although I have read it before. I thought it was worth sharing here.
A NYC Taxi driver wrote:
I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.
She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.
She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’
‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’
‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly.
‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice. ‘The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.
‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.
We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired. Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.
I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
‘How much do I owe you?’ she asked, reaching into her purse.
‘Nothing,’ I said.
‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.
‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’
I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.
But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
Wow! What a great idea! The next time I am in Philly, I am stopping in and posting a lot of Post-It notes!