How to Feel More In Alignment With Your Life


It seems that the act of being busy has somehow become a positive quality – something we should strive for. Someone who isn’t busy is surely lazy, lethargic, and definitely not doing enough. You may have seen articles or heard talk about the glorification of being busy, and I really feel that this is a frightening but widespread phenomenon.

With modern technology and a wealth of info at our fingertips (aka your inbox), it’s easy to adapt to being constantly plugged in, digitally available, and eager to participate in perhaps more than we can really handle. My life definitely gets very busy, and at first I wasn’t sure how to manage it all, but now I understand that doing too much is not always a good thing. I used to think that the busier a person was the more successful they must be.

Now, I think the definition of success is much more along the lines of someone who creates value for others, feels connected to what they do, and has the freedom to spend their time as they wish. I’ve learned from experience that it’s my responsibility to “filter my life” so to speak in order to protect my mental health, wellbeing and of course to feel happier.

This means several things: saying no, slowing down, prioritizing, and checking in with myself. If you feel overextended, like down time is a daydream, or feel a constant urge to be doing something, here are several strategies to implement to take back control over your life and feel more in tune with what you’re doing.

Quiet Your Mind

It sounds counter intuitive, but one way to realign and actually understand how to distribute your energy is to do nothing. Everyday make some time to simply be. Sit and focus on your breath without doing anything else. Don’t reach for your phone, listen to a podcast, or have the TV on in the background. Simply sit and exist without giving your attention to anything else. You’ll probably notice that this is extremely difficult – a telling sign that we’re adapting to constant stimulation and multitasking. I prefer to start my day with a quick meditation or gratitude exercise. This helps me clear my mind, which puts my “problems” in perspective and helps me feel more calm as I go about my day. Taking a moment to be quiet actually helps us handle the rest of the day with more grace and helps the answers to our questions come through more easily. All you have to do, is take time to do nothing.

Slow Down

As you go about your day, commit to being mindful. Do your best to single-task and with each activity hold your intention in mind. When I sit down to write a blog post, I’m tempted to pick up my phone and start scrolling through Insta or open my email tab and refresh it every now and then. These things only inhibit my ability to finish the task at hand and cause me to go off on all kinds of tangents. Doing one thing at a time is difficult because it feels like we’re moving slowly. But if you start practicing this habit you will dramatically improve your ability to concentrate, access more brain power, and be more present in the moment. I know I sound like a mix between Yoda and a yoga instructor – wait, are the spellings of those two words a coincidence? – but trust me, this will help you be more focused and consequently more productive.

Do Less

Less is more, baby. When we have impossibly long to-do lists, our motivation automatically wanes and we go into overdrive which can hurt our productivity. Often there are a few key tasks you can highlight that would make the most impact on your life and the day ahead. I like to think about the 80-20 rule. This essentially says that 80% of your success comes from 20% of your input/efforts/time, and conversely, 20% of your sources/efforts cause 80% of your unhappiness. Start giving yourself less to do each day and eliminate little nuances. Choose two or three things that will help you the most each day and don’t worry about the rest. What you’ll probably notice is the world doesn’t end, and you feel less encumbered by your daily to-do’s.

Plan Your Day

After you filter your list down to your most important tasks, taking time to plan out your day makes it much more likely that you will actually follow through. Establish a morning routine that includes meditation or quiet time, some sort of physical activity, whatever else you personally need to do to feel inspired, and specify when you’ll start on your tasks for the day. I’d recommend tackling them in order of importance. Taking just 1% of your day (that’s 14 minutes) to plan out the rest, can drastically improve your performance and make you less vulnerable to the widespread phenomenon called scatterbrain.

Weekly Check-Ins

Similarly to the first strategy of quieting your mind, it’s also important to schedule a time every week to check in with yourself. Every Sunday night sit down at your kitchen table with a notebook and jot down how the week went along. What went well? What could have gone better? What could still be eliminated or outsourced? What needs more of your attention? There are some things you can’t control so leave those out of it and focus on what you can do. If you do this act every week, you’re going to drastically improve the quality of your life. It’s like a self-course correct. Don’t underestimate the power of checking in with yourself.

This post was originally published in October of 2019.