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Get off the hamster wheel in life and get your life back_Prioritize your life

For a good while now, there seems to be one common thread woven through conversations with my girlfriends and it's this: 'they feel burdened down by their exhaustive daily schedules.' And I know they’re not alone, as I'm sure the majority of us ordinary people are all busy trying to squeeze in too many tasks on our way too-long to-do lists, only to be left feeling frazzled, and frustrated at everything left undone. In an attempt to help myself and hopefully someone else who might be feeling the same way, I thought it would be a great idea to make a breakdown of seven sure ways that can help get your life back. And since the older I get, the more precious my time and energy are to me, I no longer want to simply go through the rest of my years constantly feeling burned out, stuck or stagnated. Hence, it's time to get back to the basics by reworking priorities, and reassessing basic habits in order to stop being on the hamster wheel of life and turn it to feeling energized, purposeful, rested, healthy, and excited about life again. Who’s with me!? Instead of feeling perpetually overwhelmed and exhausted, how about implementing the following seven life-changing ways to get your life back: 

1. Streamline your life and cut clutter. Rather than suffocating yourself with unnecessary responsibilities trying to do too many things in one day, or spending precious hours on time wasting pursuits, focus the energy and time on the things that matter most. Think: enjoying real quality time with your family/spouses, and good friends, taking time to nurture your mind and body by getting out and walking through nature, getting good sleep, concentrating on doing what you love (like reading a good book in a park, taking a bubble bath while enjoying your favorite decompressing tunes), and most importantly, building a strong relationship with God, which at the end of the day, is the only thing that is everlasting.

2. Live with intention. It's one of those phrases that’s been circling around a lot, but yet, so true! If you do not want to waste your precious time on frivolous things and miss out on the most important things in life (see #1), ruthless decluttering from the unfulfilling, non-essential things that aren't important to us or feeding our souls, is a must. Of course, that varies from person to person. You'd have to figure out what those important things are to you. For me, it means no longer saying yes to an invite to spending time/associating with people who will leave me feeling deflated just for the sake of being kind or spending too much time online. 

3. Create a Personal Priorities List. At the beginning of every new year, I always make a list of a minimum of six most important personal priorities depending on the season of life I'm in that I use as a foundation to build my schedule around the course of the year. Granted, I sometimes get distracted and get off track a bit, but as soon as I start feeling drained, unfocused and unsatisfied with my days/life, I revisit that list to get refocused on the goals I'm working on. But if you're not sure how to draw up that list, asking yourself questions like: 'What is most important to me? Work? Family? Health? Traveling? Community? Others? At the end of my life, what do I want to look back on with satisfaction? What is going to matter most to me?', can give you a great starting point to figuring out what to put on your list. 

4. Clear the Schedule Clutter. A good way to do this, is by asking yourself: are my priorities reflected in the "busyness"? In a world of "hustlers" today, many times busyness is mistakenly equated with productivity. It's a deluded way of feeling important. But realistically rushing through our days from one commitment to the next without having even a moment to meditate on the most important things in life, doesn't necessarily mean that we're doing anything worthwhile. Therefore, it's a must we take time to regularly clear out the non-essential commitments. Routinely examining one's schedule not only helps to keep control of it, but that's how you determine whether the commitments on our schedules rejuvenate and energize, or drain and exhaust us. 

5. Don’t Put Things Off. At times, there’s something we need to do, but we put it off because we find it unpleasant. The more we procrastinate, the more cluttered our minds get and greater the burden we feel for not accomplishing that task. Conversely, instead of floundering aimlessly, live life with purpose. Give priority to the most important things first, before adding other tasks to your schedule. This way, if you don’t get to everything on your list, there’ll be a sense of accomplishing what matters most – getting you closer to a more purposefully fulfilling life. Are you putting off an unpleasant assignment? Well, take care of it now, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

6. Be Realistic. It can be tempting to try to change everything in your life immediately. Don’t! You may find there are moments where we suddenly get this emotional surge and tell ourselves, ‘This week I’m going to clean out my closet, organize the garage, pantry, linen closet, start exercising, start eating better.’ Then at the end of the week we find ourselves even in a worse rut than before, because now we’ve got this sense of defeat, due to the fact that we bit off more than we could chew, leaving us completely unmotivated. When one tries to reach a bunch of goals all at once - it sure is a way to reach none of them! So rather than trying to do everything at once, being realistic helps one to tackle each goal gradually in increments.

7. Start Small. Do all you can today and add on to that every day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t ever take the first step. The guaranteed formula to transforming oneself into a disciplined person, is time, consistence, persistence and not giving up. Also, remembering that failure isn’t fatal. Setbacks are to be expected, but can be beat with determination and perseverance as you work toward the goal of getting your life back.

I understand these suggestions might not work for everyone, since each of us is unique with different life circumstances. However, I hope this post inspires action to achieving slow and steady changes that will result in a positive transformation over time.

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Happy Monday!

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