Have you ever met someone who just seems to have their life completely together? Someone who manages their time brilliantly, has a fun social life, is successful in business, is on top of their finances, and is in good shape, to top it all off?
When we meet these people there are usually two simultaneous reactions we have. Firstly, jealousy (and maybe even a bit of resentment), and secondly, admiration and awe. Something about these people just seems otherworldly, especially considering the fact that most of us seem to find it so difficult to get all of our ducks in a row.
The unfortunate truth is that life gets us all down from time to time and there’s no one who can honestly brag that they haven’t had to face their face share of chaos and uncertainty, disappointment, disorganization, and trouble.
In fact, those people you know, who make you so jealous and impress you so much due to them being on top of things — they’ve probably been through some serious periods of uncertainty, drama, chaos, and regret. It’s often these tough situations that serve as the motivation for turning things around and staying focused, organised, and disciplined, going forward.
So, if life hasn’t been working out for you recently, don’t let yourself sink into despair. Instead, resolve to make things better each day, even if it’s only by a little bit at a time.
Here’s a checklist of action you can take in order to make things better.
Get a good budgeting tool to help you take control of your financial life
Unfortunately, many of the most common woes we experience are connected to financial issues. Trouble with money can cause anxiety, material deprivation, and suffering, and put even the most balanced relationships under stress.
But, while financial troubles are sometimes caused by unforeseen catastrophes and events beyond our immediate control — things like a sudden injury or illness that results in major medical bills — it’s often the case, too, that financial issues are created and exacerbated by poor money management skills.
If financial chaos lands upon you, you may need to take drastic measures and find a loan that can help to tide over for the short term. But while payday loans online have benefits and drawbacks, taking out a loan should always be a last resort, and a lot of research should be done in order to avoid falling for predatory rates and offers.
The best thing to do is, of course, to adopt a “preventative” approach to financial issues. Try to stop them before they happen, by adopting systems and habits that keep you on the right track.
Getting a good budgeting tool can help you to take control of your financial life in a big way, and certainly makes it much easier to remain mindful of your spending, and avoid some of the more obvious pitfalls.
Zero-based budgeting services such as You Need a Budget are very popular these days, and are generally quite intuitive to use, and effective, too.
Start a bullet journal
There’s a whole lot of stuff to keep track of if you want to live an organised life, where you remain in the driver’s seat as much as possible. There are daily chores to remember, work deadlines to meet, social obligations to attend to, emergencies that need to be handled, and personal projects that need to be planned and pursued. And in all likelihood, that’s just scratching the tip of the iceberg.
In response to this need for organisation, a vast array of apps and digital tools — each more complicated than the last — have flooded onto the market, and continue to flood in, each day. These apps and tools generally require a monthly subscription, always require a digital device in order to access, and can seem tricky, detached, and artificial.
In response to this, Ryder Carroll has created a streamlined, low-tech, and beautifully efficient solution, known as the “Bullet Journal method.”
The Bullet Journal method relies on good old-fashioned paper. Any paper notebook can, in theory, be used successfully for bullet journaling. The key is in the elegant system Ryder has created for recording your daily to-dos in a minimalist and speedy format, tracking long-term goals, and storing thoughts, anecdotes, and reflections, using nothing but a series of small, shorthand marks.
Many people have picked up the original Bullet Journal idea and have put their own spin on it, usually involving decking out their notebooks with elaborate hand-drawn art, decorations, stickers, graphs, etc.
Maybe this artsy approach will work for you, but the key benefit of the traditional bullet journal is its simplicity. So, watch the free instruction videos, visit the website, and maybe buy the new Bullet Journal instructional book.
You may well be surprised by how much more personal, engaging, and low-stress it is following the Bullet Journal system than relying on paid apps, or on keeping your daily to-dos recorded on stay napkins and post-it notes.
Make getting more sleep a real priority
The neuroscientist and sleep researcher, Matthew Walker, has taken the world by storm recently with his book “Why We Sleep”.
In the book, he points out that sleep deprivation is linked to pretty much every bad thing you could imagine, from memory loss, to depression, reduced performance at work, poor emotional control, weight gain, the development of diabetes, and on, and on.
Getting enough sleep, in the other hand, boosts your mood, boosts your productivity, improves your immune system, and has numerous other benefits that are so striking that it’d be all but impossible to overstate them.
Nonetheless, a huge number of people around the world routinely drift through the week like zombies, in a state of perpetual sleep deprivation, suffering a massively reduced quality of life as a result, without even realising it in many cases.
If your life isn’t where you want it to be, one of the best things that you can do to increase your productivity, improve your mood, and give yourself the energy you need in order to really turn things around, is to make getting more sleep a real priority.
Reduce caffeine and stimulant consumption, especially after morning hours. Eat an early dinner, don’t eat close too close to bedtime. Spend more time in bed than you think you need, and read until you get tired. Reduce bright, blue and white lights in the evening. Get more sleep.
Commit to always telling the truth and putting “skin in the game”
The quality of our lives is determined to a large degree by the level of self-respect we have, and the degree to which we can successfully simplify the immense chaos of life.
Many people believe in “putting on a show” and telling “white lies”. The reality, though, is that by failing to be honest and accountable, we rob ourselves of self-respect, and complicate our lives beyond all reason, and that’s just for starters.
Telling the truth doesn’t have to mean being rude or callous. You can, and should, still talk to people with care and compassion, but telling the truth — especially in difficult matters — is essential for healing, building trust (in yourself, as well), and patching up your life when everything seems to be lost in a state of chaos, uncertainty, and negative emotion.
If you make a solemn commitment to always tell the truth, and to hold yourself accountable for the things you say and do, the quality of your life will improve, guaranteed.