Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You drag yourself out of bed at 7:00. It’s the second time you’ve hit snooze, but one more time would mean being late for your job. It’s Thursday, but it hardly matters. Today and every work day is the same. Wake up at 7:00, work from 9:00 to 6:00, and plop down in front of the TV until you doze off after Game of Thrones.
And the weekends?
Usually spent grocery shopping, drinking, or … more TV.
Soon enough you start to feel like days are zooming by, then months, then whole years of your life.
So how do you escape the Groundhog Day time warp?
Make every day unique!
The main reason most people have a speedy sense of time is that there isn’t enough variance from day to day. If every day looks basically the same, of course they will run together like one large nonevent that zooms by without purpose.
The solution is to shake it up where you have the power to do so.
Think about the most recent busy day you had. The one where you couldn’t believe how interesting, productive, or fun it was. The one that made you double take at the clock because you swore it was later than it actually was.
I’d guess that it was so because you visited many different people and places or tried something new or fun.
This is the secret to making every day meaningful and memorable: injecting every day with variance and newness, no matter how small.
Start small with new experiences
For most people, squeezing in a skydiving session after work is unreasonable. I totally understand that. The key isn’t entirely in the daredevil factor or even the new experiences themselves: it’s in the learning to be here-and-now, enjoying every day for exactly what it is. Here are some starter ideas:
- Incorporate exercise into your life it it’s not already. This doesn’t have to be a sweat-drenched trip to the gym! Try swimming in the evenings after work or sunrise yoga before you head out. If you have kids, go on family bike rides before dinner. Turn on your favourite music, grab a glass of wine, and dance (even if you don’t know how) in your underwear upon returning from work.
- Start a morning ritual. These are extremely powerful and one of the most effective ways to increase your productivity, lower your stress, and generally improve life tenfold. If meditating hasn’t become a regular part of your life, I’d highly suggest injecting it into your mornings. It’s not as hard a habit to get into as you think!
- Take a new route to work. Find something scenic where you can admire nature if possible.
- Spend one hour from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm (or whenever your post-work waking hours are) to improve a skill or work on a hobby. Imagine how far you’ll go in one year if you dedicate this time every day!
A little exploration goes a long way
The second way you can squeeze the juice out of your time is to vary the places you go to and the people you see. Typically go straight home after work? Try going out for dinner or spending some time in nature. Typically see the same friend every Friday night? Try catching up with another friend or making new ones through meetup.com. Here are some ideas to add a little bit of exploration to your life:
- Join a club. I swear up and down by meetup.com. From adult kickball to pole fitness to Doctor Who fanatics, there’s a group for everybody. Better yet, if there isn’t one already, you can start one yourself (be queen bee)!
- Try a new restaurant after work. One catch though: has to be a type of food you’ve never had before. If it weren’t for this random choice after work, I would have never found my one true love: Greek gyros!
- Take a brief trip. A short jaunt, even to another country, doesn’t have to be too expensive. Compare prices online and remember that tickets are often cheapest six weeks before a flight.
- Indulge yourself. Dedicate one night a week to a self-date. Maybe it sounds weird to some, but all women should get into the habit of caring for themselves. After all, most of us do so much to help others – nurses, mothers, girlfriends/wives – but often neglect ourselves. Get your hair done, take yourself out to the beach, or see that interesting show you’ve had your eyes on.
- Take a sick or PTO day. Are you one of those people who stores all their PTO days, then scrambles to use them before the year’s up (if at all)? Knock that off right now. Schedule a day off and use it to explore your town or one nearby. Have fun like a kid taking a hookie day!
- Talk to strangers. Of course, the old childhood adage still applies; be careful of who you talk to. But your average stranger is surprisingly friendly, helpful, and interesting. Next time you find yourself in an awkward silence or bout of boredom – say, in line at the store – strike up a conversation. You never know where the road may lead!
But I’m too busy/tired!
Between work, schooling, kids, and general “adulting” (ew), it can feel like there’s never time or energy for anything but the necessities and relaxing. But here’s the truth: your mind constantly tries to steer you from being your highest self. It will tell you that you don’t have the energy, the time, or the resources to do whatever will propel you in the right direction.
The status quo is comfortable, no matter how uninspiring it might be. Happiness takes real effort.
You have to kill those excuses, or they will kill you.
What are your techniques?
Are there any that I’m missing out on? What are your techniques to breathe fresh air into your life? Share your ideas below!