When you lay your head on your pillow at night, you drift off to sleep with a sense of fatigue. But that fatigue can be caused by a couple of different things.
1. You’re tired and frustrated from spinning your wheels all day but not having much to show for it.
2. You’re tired and fulfilled from putting your energy into activities that moved you forward in life.
I love it when I can look back on my day and feel a sense of satisfaction. When I realize I took control of my day instead of allowing my day to control me.
Here are five different areas that leave me feeling fulfilled instead of frustrated. Putting your energy into these areas will increase the likelihood that you’re investing your time and not just wasting it.
1. Work Toward A Goal
There are two kinds of people: those who say “I wish” and those who say “I will.” They’re separated by their willingness to DO something. You can be busy all day and not really accomplish anything. That’s because the overused and all-too-familiar cliche’ is true: aim for nothing and you’ll hit it every time.
Action Step: Write down your top three goals? If you can’t name them you can’t achieve them.
2. Live Your Life’s Story
Some people measure their life according the number of years they’re alive. They count days. They count hours. They look forward to the day they can retire. But what if you saw your life as a wonderful, unfolding story? What if you realized that each chapter affects and flows into the next chapter? Jean Houston said, “If you keep telling the same sad small story, you will keep living the same sad, small life.”
Action Step: Do something today that would make a great story.
3. Find A Deeper Motivation Than Money
Daniel Pink, in his book, Drive, says that people find greater intrinsic motivation in three areas:
Autonomy: I can self-regulate. I am resourceful and can do it on my own.
Mastery: I hone my gifts and improve to the point that I excel in an area.
Purpose: I work toward a cause that I believe is very important.
All too often, I tie the meaning of my work to a paycheck. I think my greatest need is money (I’m not saying money isn’t a need…it’s just not my greatest one). Whenever I start to work for money, I start to work outside of my zone. Working for money adds a layer of stress and uncertainty to what we do. But when we do the work that is most meaningful to us, when we see our work as art and craft and connection to something significant – we do our best work.
Action Step: Tie the work you do today to your values and mission in life.
4. Grow Your Most Valuable Resource: YOU
Each day is an opportunity to invest in your learning – the kind of learning that leads to growth. But it’s up to you to take advantage of those opportunities. Without the structure of an educational system, some people lack the discipline and drive to learn and grow. Unfortunately, personal growth doesn’t happen automatically. You have to plan for it. If you need help getting started, here’s a rough outline for a growth plan using the letters P.L.A.N. You will need to fill in the specifics with what’s appropriate for you.
P urpose: What do you need to know? Why?
L earning: Where do you want to learn it from? Why?
A ssessment: How will you know you learned it?
N ext Action: What will you do with what you learned?
Action Step: Write down your P.L.A.N. for today.
5. Connect With Friends
Developing relationships and building connections with other people is what makes us truly human. We all hold within us a deep need to belong and relate our experiences with a community of people. Friends are those people who we share life with. They care about us and we care about them. They correct us when we’re headed in the wrong direction and they celebrate with us in the joys of life. You may feel your frustration more strongly each night because you’ve been carrying the weight of your burdens all by yourself.
Action Step: Spend some face-to-face time with a friend.
Your comments are welcome: What do you do to find fulfillment in your day?