Archives for August 2017

Know What’s Sucking Up Your Time

We live in hectic times and our most precious commodity is and always will be time. You can’t grow more of it and when it’s gone you can’t get it back.

How often do you tell yourself that you can’t do what you want to do because you don’t have the time? We all do it. We want to live with more purpose, volunteer, or simply spend more quality time with our family and friends, but there just isn’t enough time to do it.

The cold hard truth is that there is plenty of time. It’s simply a matter of prioritizing what you spend it on and cutting out some of the things that suck up your time. We all have them and while the specifics may be different from person to person, the solution is the same for everyone. Find out where you spend your time and then make educated decisions on what’s important and what isn’t.

One of the best tools for figuring out exactly where you’re spending your time is a time journal. This can be a simple little notebook, a stack of scrap paper, an Evernote doc on your phone, or a spreadsheet on your computer. Next start writing done what you’re doing every 15 minutes from the time you get up to the time you go to sleep. Keep this up for about a week and see what you come up with. Reviewing your time log can be an eye opening experience.

You may discover that you spent a lot more time on the computer doing busy work, or surfing the web than you realize. Or maybe you had no idea that you spent an average of four hours a night watching TV, or 2 hours per day commuting to and from work. In other words, you’ll start to recognize patterns of behavior and where you tend to spend your time. While there are quite a few areas that we don’t have a lot of control over (you have to show up for work or school, make time for personal hygiene, and get some sleep), there are quite a few hours in each day that we can fill however we like.

Keeping a time log for a week or two provides you with the information you need to be able to make educated and conscious choices about how to spend that time. That in turn allows you to live more purposefully, no matter what your goals and aspirations are. Sometimes, you want to sleep in, spend the day reading or playing video games, or simply daydream and that’s ok. It’s a great way to unwind, distress, and recharge. On other days, you may choose do so something more active or social. The point is that when you become aware of how and where you’re spending your time, you have more control and can be more intentional with how you spent it.

Small Things You Can Start Doing Right Now To Make A Difference

In yesterday’s post we started to take a look at what you can do to live with purpose without getting overwhelmed by tackling too much at once. Today I thought I’d share a list of various things you can do to live more purposefully and make a difference. Browse through the list below and use it as inspiration for things you can do. Try what seems interesting or fun or use it as a starting point to come up with your own ideas. Most importantly come up with a couple of small things and commit to doing them this week. It’s time to start living with purpose now.

At Home and At Work

Let’s start with a couple of meaningful and purposeful things you can do around your house and office:

  • Organize your desk.
  • Learn a new language or skill.
  • Pick up a new hobby.
  • Reconnect with old friends.
  • Write Thank You notes.
  • Plan a romantic dinner.
  • Plant a garden.
  • Cook from scratch.
  • Create a household budget.
  • Take a continued education class.
  • Go back to college.

In Your Local Community

Another great place to look at when it comes to living with purpose is your local community. What activities can you participate in, and what can you do to help out. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking about this:

  • Help out an elderly neighbor.
  • Trade babysitting services with a friend.
  • Attend and help out at a local church.
  • Support local charities.
  • Run a charity race.
  • Help out at your child’s school.
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter or soup kitchen.
  • Donate to a local food pantry.

In The World

Last but not least, there’s a lot you can do to make a difference in the world at large. Some of it will require travel and thus a bit more planning (not to mention money), but there’s also quite a bit you can do from home, thanks to the internet and our global connections. Here are a couple of ideas for you:

  • Join and support charitable organizations.
  • Learn about different cultures and languages.
  • Support mission trips from your local community.
  • Go on a mission trip.
  • Travel and explore different cultures.
  • Provide financial support to your favorite causes.
  • Become active on social media to raise awareness.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to come up with your very own short list of simple things you can start doing right now to live with more purpose. Find one or two of them and start implementing them right away. Then keep coming back to your list for inspiration and to add to it as we go through the rest of this 30 day challenge.

Your Purpose Doesn’t Have To Be Huge To Make A Difference

When we think about finding our calling or our life’s purpose, it’s easy to get caught up in these huge visions. We think that it has to be something along the lines of what Gandhi or Mother Teresa accomplished in their lifetimes. If you think that your purpose has to be this all-encompassing lifelong body of work, it’s easy to get discouraged and never get off to a start in the first place. And no wonder… that type of “goal” is overwhelming and seems unattainable.

The good news is that you don’t have to dedicate your entire life to your calling. It doesn’t have to be this all-consuming thing.  You can make a real difference on a small scale that will help those around you and give you the benefits of living a purpose driven life. Keep that in mind as you go on this journey of discovering, and fine-tuning your purpose and then living a purpose-driven life.

Let me share a few simple little examples with you of things that can be done with purpose that make a real difference to the people it touches. None of these is a huge project, none takes a lot of time or money, but they all have a noticeable impact, particularly over time. More important than finding a huge purpose or calling is to live your life going forward with purpose and intention.

Spending Quality Time With Your Spouse And Kids

Our lives are hectic and busy. Often we don’t spend any quality time with our loved ones. Instead we race from commitment to commitment, cramming in a few meals and a bit of parenting here and there before collapsing on the couch and mindlessly watching TV. Become more intentional and purposeful in how you spend time with your family. Set aside pockets of time each day to give them your full attention. Plan some fun outings and activities and truly reconnect with the people who are most important to you.

Creating And Sharing Care Packages For The Homeless

Grab some gallon-sized Ziploc bags, head to the dollar store and put together small care packages for the homeless. Include a few personal hygiene products, some nonperishable food, and maybe a pair of socks or a hat. Keep them in your car and hand them out to homeless people you come across.

Adopt A Soldier

Make the day of a soldier overseas with a monthly letter and small care package. Google “adopt a soldier” to learn more and to find a soldier or unit you can connect with.

Decluttering Your Home And Downsizing Your Possessions

Let’s bring it back home for this last example. Living with purpose is all about living intentionally. Why not declutter your home and downsize your possessions in general to make sure you have time, space, and finances to do so. Donate what you don’t need any longer and see how much more free you feel when you’re no longer weight down by all this extra “stuff”.

Notice that living a purpose driven life doesn’t always mean going out in the community and improving the lives of others. Another aspect that’s just as important (and should in fact come first) of living with purpose is to do so when it comes to your personal life and your home. Start there and then branch out toward the world at large.

How To Find Your Calling

Vintage style black female author writing and sitting on a chaise loungeFinding and following your calling is a big part of living with purpose. Finding that calling though, can be a pretty big and intimidating task, particularly if you put yourself under pressure to come up with the perfect answer right here and right now. While it is a goal worth pursuing, it’s also important to realize that it may take time to find your calling, that it’s a process that will develop over time, and that you can’t force. In fact, you shouldn’t. A much better plan of action is to take it one step and one day at a time until your calling becomes clear.

Start With What’s Important To You

A great place to start is to think about what’s important to you. It doesn’t have to be huge or all-consuming. Start with something small. Find a cause you feel drawn to and do what you can to support it. Volunteer, learn more about it and share what you’re learning with others, support organizations financially. Maybe this means knitting baby hats for preemies at your local hospital. Maybe it means spending time with an elderly neighbor, or maybe it means saving up for a mission trip next summer. The most important thing is to simply start and do something.

Listen To The Soft Voice In Your Head

Another great strategy is to listen to your intuition. Pay attention to that small voice in your head that tells you what you should be doing. Learning to listen to this little voice can be a bit of a challenge in today’s busy and noisy world.

Spend some time contemplating your values. Educate yourself about causes that catch your attention. Spend some quite time in meditation or prayer to be able to hear the voice in your head. Then start taking action on what you’re hearing and what you know you should be doing.

Walk The Path Towards Your Calling One Step At A Time

Don’t let this process overwhelm you. In the first excitement, you may be tempted to tackle a huge project and set out to change the world all at once. While that’s a great ambition, it’s also something that can seem quite daunting and burn you out. Instead, take it one step at a time. Pick your path and get in the habit of doing something every week, or even daily that aligns with your calling and helps you reach your goals. Pick something that’s easy to do and fit into your already busy life. No matter how small, every little act and effort helps to make a difference and serve with purpose.

Why What You Do For A Living Matters

A Beautiful Afro-American woman juggling multiple objects over the air

What do you do for a living? That’s a pretty big question, isn’t it? Our job, our career, and how we earn money to finance our life is a big part of how we define ourselves. It’s often one of the first pieces of information we share after our name when we meet someone else. It’s a big part of our identity and of our feeling of self-worth.

We also spend a lot of time “on the job”. Between the 40+ hours we actually spent at work, lunch breaks, commutes back and forth, and of course getting ready for or unwinding from work, this takes up most of our working hours. With this much time devoted to our job, doesn’t it make sense to do something we enjoy and that brings us happiness?

This is why it matters what you do for a living. You’re spending a lot of time training for your job, on your job, and thinking about your job. While not everyone will end up following their passion and working in a job that fulfills their purpose in life, it is something to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to go into the workforce or are switching jobs. Sometimes, a change can be a very good thing.

On the flip side, we need to have a job that pays the bills so we can support our families. If you’re a single mom, you may consider your purpose to be to spend as much time as possible raising your kids. Your dream job may be stay at home mom, but with no second parent to support your little family, that may not be possible. This is when it’s time to look outside the box. Maybe you can find a way to work from home, or bring your kids to work with you. Maybe you can work two long overnight shifts as a nurse on the weekend while someone watches the kids and be there for them the rest of the week. There are ways to make your job work around your purpose, no matter what it may be.

Keep in mind that things don’t have to be perfect. In fact, they seldom are. Perfection is not the goal. Leading a happy and fulfilled life is. Think about your current job. Does it work for you? What works well, and what doesn’t? What small changes or tweaks can you make to improve what you’ve got? In other words, think about how you can change how you make a living to align with your purpose in life. Then make a plan to implement those changes.

Note from Donna: If you want to know more about a fulfilling and lucrative method for earning a living, watch this video about the exciting opportunities spreading the word about Young Living Essential Oils:

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