“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” ~ Henry David Thoreau
There are times one might think 24 hours a day could never be enough. Juggling everything-ranging from career, family and social life, health, and recreation among others-can sometimes suck the energy out of you. The usual tendency is to trade-off: career rise over family time or a healthy lifestyle, for instance. When every day has receded to monotony and routine, recognize that it is time to regain some positivity into your lifestyle.
9 Happiness Tips for Busy People
Below are nine ways you can inject happiness into your busy life and your day-to-day activities.
1. Have some ‘me’ time.
With daily schedules primarily consisting of work and personal obligations, the one thing that highly busy people forget is personal time. Lunch breaks don’t even count as in the case of lunch meetings and the likes.
In spite of these situations, it is important to set a few hours or even a few minutes that is solely for one’s self. Get a haircut. Watch a movie. Dine out. Or simply lounge in bed, if you please. The time you spend on yourself is a time to recharge. You can also view it as a small pat on the back for your accomplishments during the week.
2. Pursue stillness; Practice meditation.
If you cannot afford a few hours of personal time, then having a few minutes of complete disconnection from your surroundings is the next best alternative.
Pulling yourself away from technology and chaos to seek stillness and mindfulness for a few minutes helps in centering one’s self. Did you know that Oprah, Forbes’ top ranking billionaire and one of its most powerful women of 2015, sets aside at least 20 minutes a day of quiet time? One time, she went to Fairfield, Iowa for a session of transcendental meditation. Her reflection on her experience? “It was a powerfully energizing yet calming experience. I didn’t want it to end. When it did, I walked away feeling fuller than when I’d come in. Full of hope, a sense of contentment, and deep joy. Knowing for sure that even in the daily craziness that bombards us from every direction, there is—still—the constancy of stillness. Only from that space can you create your best work and your best life.”
3. Identify a habit/behavior that you need to change or improve on.
Bill Gates was known for his “Think Week,” his annual ritual where he would dissociate himself from everything around him to reflect on things.
Introspection allows us to look at ourselves from a detached point of view to be able to pinpoint the good from the bad. Knowing and accepting one’s flaws and imperfections are steps to an improved outlook on life. “Breaking old habits, and forming new ones always takes time, but it is worth it in the end,” says Joyce Meyer.
4. Discard all non-essentials, starting from your wardrobe.
Keeping too much of anything, especially clothing, make way for clutter.
A step to a lighter, happier way of living is decluttering. Begin with your closet. A basic in decluttering one’s closet is to select the items which you have not worn in six months to a year. Then, sort your clothes into three piles: to wear; to keep, and to share.
Clothes that you appeal to you and you see yourself wearing in the next three months go to the ‘to wear’ pile, while the ones that no longer appeal to you and are up for donation land in the ‘to share’ pile. The items that you feel undecided about may go to the ‘to keep’ box.
Remember not to keep them too long or you’ll gain clutter all over again. You may also want to ask family members and/or relatives if they want something in your pile.
5. Keep the 8×8 fluid practice.
That is, drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water daily. Busy schedules should not hinder you from having a healthy mind and body. If exercising for 30 minutes a day is not doable, staying hydrated is your next best bet. After all, the human body is made up of 60% water, and being hydrated energizes the muscles.
A water glass on your desk or a tumbler in your car is the most accessible healthy tool you will ever have. Water drinking tracking apps that take note and remind you of your daily fluid intake are also available for download.
6. Learn how to say ‘no’…and be firm about it.
Saying ‘no’ is already difficult, especially when we have to please others. But we cannot keep saying ‘yes,’ otherwise added obligations and commitments will swamp you. One needs to discern what is important from what’s not.
This is called prioritizing, and the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs banked on this as his management style. In fact, in 1996-1997, Jobs saved Apple by insisting on focusing on making only four computers. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do,” he said.
Overused as it may be, conquering one’s fear still proves to be relevant.
Fear can be paralyzing and controlling. In her book, 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy, Luminita D. Saviuc shares, “If you want to be happy, if you want to experience the many wonders of life, and if you want to discover what it really feels like to be fully alive, you have to let go of fear. You can’t serve two masters. You have to choose one—fear or love—and based on the one you choose your life will either be happy or unhappy.
So, go ahead, and do something that intimidates you. Turn your jitters into something positive.
8. Live by the “pay it forward” concept.
You’ve probably seen the Haley Joel Osment-starred film. The act of good will need not be complicated or grandiose. It can be as simple as saying thank you, or sharing a smile with a stranger. The important thing is to do something that others can emulate, and do to others as well. Ben Carson nailed it when he said, “Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.”
Stoic philosopher Epictetus once said, “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.”
Oftentimes, we get preoccupied with achieving our goals that we take too much control of our life. But frustration will get the best of us if we try to control everything, and yet end up with unwanted results, or fall short of our own expectations. Letting things happen the way they should be can lessen anxiety and stress, and allows for peace for yourself because you do not need to worry about being in control.
All responsibilities notwithstanding, one should not allow hectic day-to-day schedules control their life. It should be the other way around. Otherwise, you’ll always be too busy for anything, except work. Keep in mind that balance is the keyword.