We all aspire to be as focused and well put together as possible, but admittedly many of us fall short. I mean… Way short. The world of adulting is a confusing and taxing one, but by adhering to a few simple, yet essential steps, we can navigate our lives with purpose and ease.
1. Live by a set of principles
These principles can come from The Holy Bible, Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture”, or the SCUM manifesto. Whatever it is that speaks to you, memorize the core values and apply them to your daily life. By having a list of principals, you add another layer of organization and guidance to your life, which will help you stay on the right track and not lose focus of what you want out of life.
2. Make a list of things you want to accomplish
Emmitt Smith once said, “It’s only a dream until you write it down, then it becomes a goal.” It is crucial to analyze what you want to have and where you want to be. Without any direction, you’ll forever be lost and confused about what your next move will be. By making a list of what you want to accomplish, you can identify what steps you will need to take in order to be successful. Having a narrow focus on your goals will help to keep you from wasting time and energy on circumstances that do not matter.
3. Wake up early
If you start your day any later than 8 a.m., you’re not a true adult. There are only 24 hours in a day—so make the most of them! By waking up early, you maximize the amount of time you are able to spend working on your priorities and goals (and the amount of free time you can have later). Not only that, but studies have shown that those who wake up early actually get better sleep, since their bodies are more in-tune with our body’s natural circadian rhythm.
4. Eat clean
Everyone in the world knows that junk food and fast food are bad for you, but most people continue to eat it. Always remember: you are what you eat. Eating unhealthy depletes your energy and damages your health. Those who don’t eat healthily are more prone to sickness (which means more money spent on doctor’s visits or money lost due to missing days of work) and are more unproductive. If you want to finesse life, you’re going to need high energy levels and good health. By living a healthy lifestyle, we can eliminate one element of stress from our already busy and overwhelming lives.
5. Read more
I’m inclined to believe that some people thought all of those summer reading assignments and out-of-school reading programs were just ploys developed by the education system to ruin our lives. Wrong. There is a reason that many schools encourage their students to read as much as possible—it’s because reading actually does increase your intelligence. Not only that, but by exposing yourself to new ideas, concepts, and vocabulary, you become wiser and learn skills necessary to be successful in life.
6. Limit your use of social media
Social media is entertaining and a great way to stay connected with people, but it is also filled with trash. Aside from world news and great opinion pieces, most of what is on social media is mindless drivel and nothing more than a distraction. By being on social media constantly, you waste time that could’ve been spent on activities that positively benefit your life. If being productive is something you’ve always struggled with, you can immediately improve this skill by cutting out social media.
7. Stop spending money
Okay, obviously we have to spend money — we do live in a capitalist society, after all — but that doesn’t mean we have to spend money on things that are not necessary. Cook all of your meals at home, only go clothes shopping once a month (if you have trouble coming up with outfits, check out project 333), do not — I repeat, DO NOT — spend money to go to parties or other functions.
Instead, gather all of your friends at home and have a kickback, or attend free events being held in your community. Money feels much better in your pocket than it does in the hands of someone else, so spend it wisely. By limiting how much money you spend, you won’t have to worry as much about how you’ll pay bills, and you’ll also have extra money you can use towards achieving your goals.
Life was never meant to be easy, but with self-discipline and effort, we can move through the world with greater ease. Follow these seven steps daily and say adios to the days of purposelessness and misdirection.