HOW I SCHEDULE THINGS THAT MAKE ME HAPPY
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” – Thomas Merton
I’m a fan of productivity tools, and am always on the look out for the next lifestyle design “hack”. This past month, I tried making one of my own, and found it quite useful.
Inspired by my friend Aly, I did a reflection on my month of February, and noticed that there were several areas of my life that were not in balance.
As a way to stay accountable to my goals coming out of this reflection, I decided to do something a bit counter-intuitive. Normally, I would set goals in the areas I wanted to focus on, which for the month of March were my health, connecting with others, and stepping outside my comfort zone. Instead, for March, I decided to create what I like to call, “Clouds of Inspiration”.
Here is how it works:
1. Since the areas I wanted to work on in March were my Health, Connections, and having more Spontaneity/Adventure, I put these as my bigger clouds on to a piece of chart paper, and stuck it up in my bedroom on the wall.
2. I then wrote below each of these big clouds, smaller clouds of potential ways I could work towards these goals.
For my Health, I wrote that I could do meditation, yoga, have daily dance parties, make fresh juice, and write a journal regularly. For my Connections, I wrote that I could connect with mentors, build my personal board of directors, and spend quality time with loved ones. For my Spontaneity/Adventure, I wrote that I would say “YES” more to invitations, explore new places or restaurants, and travel whenever I could.
3. Then, as the month of March went along, I did things and kept track of what I did under each “Cloud of Inspiration”. I wrote down the activity I did, and the date I did it.
Why it worked:
Normally, I would just set a goal to do only yoga for the month, and often I would set a rigorous goal such as trying to go 5 times a week. I found that I never was able to reach this goal, and I would often become de-motivated in the process of attaining it. This approach worked for me because of the flexibility in how I work towards my overall goal of “being Healthy”; I could choose from a list of options as to things I could do on any given day to fulfill my Health goal.
The other reason it worked is that it was a visual representation of how I was doing during the month. So if in the middle of the month, I noticed that I had done a lot for my Health, but haven’t done enough things to step outside my comfort zone and make time for Spontaneity/Adventure, then I could make adjustments.
What I achieved:
This past month was one of the best ones yet because I feel that I was balanced across the different areas of my life. I found this “Clouds of Inspiration” method I created to be a great tracking tool because it allows me to see exactly what I did and when.
For instance, for my Health in March, I can tell you that I did a morning meditation 10 days of the month, had 5 dance parties, made fresh juice 10 times, and wrote in my journal or blogged 15 times.
Overall, I highly recommend trying this out. Put up a chart paper. I called mine “Soul Food for Sahil”. It’s time for me to make a new one for me this month, so I look forward to having you join me.