Where does the time go? Do you know? It is as though it never happened, but in the reflection of my calendar, I see that it did. When I get my vacation home, I will be content. When I get my new job, I will be happy. I will enjoy the day when I have what I want. The narrative for most of us is always focused on tomorrow. We live in anticipation of what is to come instead of enjoying this day. Each day lived waiting on the next. What a waste!
I will be the first to admit this is how I have been living. Where have I been? Everywhere but here. I anticipate my vacations and then dread going back to work (this is a stretch because I love my work), but can you relate? What is the continuous pull to the future that disengages us from the present? We lack a deadline. In life, we tend to focus on what will be and fail to realize what is. Today is the sum of all the days that came before it.
We should be using our past as a springboard into the future rather than a ball and chain that we drag into each day.
Our past should serve our better future, but what about today? Did I do my best work today? Did I show up ready to serve today? Stop waiting until tomorrow. I have been struggling with this concept lately and am excited to show some ideas about doing your best work today! The first idea is to set a deadline and work through to the deadline. Want to win a marathon or improve your health? Set a deadline. Want to change jobs? Give yourself a deadline. Want to spend more time w/ your family? Decide on a deadline. Want to master a skill? By what date? Simple, right?
Procrastination in doing the things we desire to do is misery, pure misery. The resistance builds as we waste the day. Tomorrow I will make an effort. More depression, frustration & disappointment emerge from our lack of ability to make the most of each day than any other problems we encounter. Typically, when issues arise, we take action. Action with purpose brings us to life. Day to day, most of us don’t have significant issues we need to resolve. We lack a stimulus beyond a faint desire. So the day passes without intentional effort. Days compound just like interest. Today invested intentionally will make for a better tomorrow. Life is built day by day.
Here are some more ideas to help you live your best day, today:
Living an intentional life requires that we practice being intentional. How will you show up every day?
When you are at work, be at work. When you are with your family, be with your family. Your best work is done when you are present with the work. Eliminate distractions and create space. Your work and your relationships need your attention. It is okay to not immediately respond to messages from somewhere rather than where you are. Where you are is where you need to be.
Have a Plan.
Sounds contrary to the underlying premise of this article, but planning our day will help ensure we make the most of it. Without a plan, we float from one thing to the next without meaningful work getting done. If you have goals, you will have no chance of realizing then if you have not made an effort. Each day, do something that will progress you toward your goals.
Do good work.
Stop doing mediocre work just to check the box. Everything affects every else in our lives. I learned this lesson from my mentor, Jim Rohn. Deep down, you know if you are doing good work. Doing work less than what you are capable of will lead to a feeling of guilt. Guilt will lead to frustration, bitterness, cynicism, or depression. We are here to live our full potential, and when we don’t, it weighs us down.
Study after study has proven that gratitude is the antidote to our selfish, narcissistic misery. Am I being a bit harsh? Well, we have a selfie-obsessed individualistic culture that is easily offended by any person or institution not aligned with their belief system. The way out of our ego-driven existence is acknowledging others and their value. Be grateful every day for your life because someone out there will take their last breath today. Every day others expire while we are blessed to live. You may not have all that you desire, but remember that the breath you are taking is the envy of the person that has no more.
Life is built day by day. Invest each day into the next by living with intention. Be present with your work and the people that surround you. If you are not happy with your life invest time each day in changing it. You are not a tree. You see, trees don’t have a choice, but you do. What a gift! Be intentional, be grateful, have a plan, do good work, and be grateful for the breath you just took.