I’ve just finished reading Gretchen Ruben’s book, The Happiness Project. One of the quotes that stood out was: “The days are long, but the years are short.

I like the sentiment that’s captured by those thoughts, and yet I frequently find it feels like the days are short too.

It can be easy to get to the end of each day and feel like you need more time to get everything on your ‘to do’ list done.

Living my life by the motto ‘life’s an adventure’, it can be easy to try and pack too much into one day.

So, if like me, you are looking to get more out of each day where do you start? Here’s some ideas to put into action.

Start it well
This means it starts the night before by getting to bed at a reasonable time, so you get enough sleep. Research shows that most people are chronically sleep deprived.

That does sound incredibly boring, and yet when you prioritise sleep everything else in the day goes so much better making it incredibly worthwhile. Sleeping is one of the best friends you can have!

As well, build into your morning routine either meditation or some form of exercise (or even better both). The meditation will set your head and heart in the right space, while the exercise gets the blood pumping so you can focus and be alert.

Keep it simple
It’s very easy to overly complicate your life – filling it with things that don’t really matter and feeling like you need to run hard to keep up with everyone else.

Be clear on what you want out of life, and get rid of things that don’t align with your goals and values. This starts with knowing what your guiding principles are for a life well lived. Write them down.

For example, some of my principles are:

  • Live life as an adventure
  • Don’t hold on too tight
  • Make each day matter
  • Nourish my body and soul
  • Bring music into my life
  • Read daily

Once they are committed to paper, they can then become the compass that helps to guide the decisions you make.

Next, when faced with a choice about what to do, ask yourself:

  • Will this overly complicate my life?
  • Do I really need this?
  • If I did this / didn’t do this would it materially impact my life?

When you do that it becomes easier to know what to say ‘no’ to.

Be deliberate
Be deliberate about what you think, say and do. This may mean you pause before you say something. Reflect on the impact of actions before you act. Being deliberate saves you time and energy.

It means you plan ahead, and work out what needs to be done and by when. You know what you need to focus on and in the moment that is what you focus on, to the exclusion of all else. It is this focus that will help you progress productively.

Practice gratitude
Gratitude is one of the greatest gifts we have. When you are grateful you focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. It’s easy to be pulled away from what you really want out of life by focusing on what other’s have.

Each day, take a moment to appreciate what’s in front of you. And at the end of day, finish it well by thinking about your day and reflecting on what you will do tomorrow.

As Eckhart Tolle said: “Life is an adventure, not a package tour“, so enjoy the adventure when you choose the route, how fast or slow you go and what detours you take.

Getting you ready for tomorrow, today!

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and  ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career’.  For more information: www.michellegibbings.com or contact [email protected].