Taking time out to look at what you are doing with your life

Does the following sound familiar or similar to your current situation? You wake up, have your breakfast, head out the door to get to work on time, work until 5, head home, eat your evening meal, watch TV and then go to bed. Wake up…and repeat until the weekend which is spent food shopping and preparing for the coming week.

On top of this, you may have additional activities like washing, ironing, entertaining your kids, visiting friends, attending clubs, exercising and so on. I’m sure there are even more activities I could mention, and I wonder if you realise just how much you have to fit in to a 7 day week.

Bearing all this in mind, how much time would you say you currently allocate to have a quiet moment to yourself where you sit down and really think about what you have done with your life so far, how you ended up on the path you are on and what direction you are headlining in the future.

Actually, if you ask most people why they are doing the job they are currently in, they will admit that they simply fell into it somehow. The last time most people had to make a decision about their career path or life plans, were when they were choosing their subjects at school and when leaving school for further education or to get work. At that age, are you really well equipped mentally to make such life changing decisions?

Some people are lucky as they know what they want to do with their lives from the minute they are born, but the majority of people drift through life without any clear idea of what they want to achieve, and instead just live from month to month paying the bills and wishing for the weekend to arrive.

Here is what I would suggest.

1) Arrange to have some time to yourself away from any distractions whatsoever. For example go to a quiet park, or go for a long walk, go out into the garden or onto the balcony, it doesn’t really matter as long as there isn’t too much going on around you and you won’t have people disturbing you.

2) Make sure you have a pad of paper and a pen and get ready to jot down ideas as they pop into your head (explained below). Please don’t worry about how realistic they are, or how crazy they are, it’s important not to filter anything out, just write them down as you can shortlist them later.

3) Now… imagine for a moment that if all of your bills are paid for you, you have nobody relying on you, you have multiple flows of income pouring into your bank account each month and you have all the time in the world. What I want you to do is think about what you would do with your day, write down what you would eat, what you would do during breakfast, people that you might want to visit and spend time with during the day, but most importantly, what would you actually do with your time.

For example, would you spend your time painting pictures, or gardening, teaching, playing computer games, doing yoga or meditating, playing the piano, composing music, basket weaving, taking photographs, reading fashion magazines, taking your dog for a long walk, playing golf, writing a book…

…remember that at this stage, just let the ideas flow out onto paper, and don’t worry about whether is it realistic, or whether you have the money, just get the ideas down. You may find it hard to think of anything at first, but then as you think of things, it will probably spark other ideas.

4) Do the above until you have exhausted all your ideas. The next thing to do is look at your list and think about how it relates to what you have spent your life so far doing. Maybe it doesn’t relate at all, or possibly it does but not as much as you hoped.

Either way, don’t let it bother you, but be aware that you might have been spending years on autopilot.

Now is your opportunity to think about what you could do to introduce your dream activities into your life. For example, if you like spending time playing the piano, maybe you could look at teaching the piano part time, or if you like doing yoga, could there be an opportunity to run a yoga class for your friends? If you love to read fashion magazines, how about starting your own fashion blog.

Depending on your financial situation, maybe you might consider a complete career path or possibly starting your own business based around your interests. If you are passionate about your subject, you will have something unique that can inspire others and be very satisfying to yourself.

So, your next step is to arrange some quiet time for yourself and do the exercise above, you will find it liberating and quite possibly life changing too!

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