Updated: Feb 8, 2018
I always hear the same lament, no matter who is saying it. CEOs of companies tell me they are overworked. Farmers back in my home village in southern India say they have no time. We can all complain that we are under the tyranny of schedules, that there is no time in our day. Each of us can say that much of our life is driven by someone else’s agenda or outside pressures – things we have to do, things we would like to do, things we are expected to do.
When I graduated from business school, I had a terrible time organising my day. Seven days a week, work was my number one priority. I fed on the thrill of accomplishments. I dashed to meetings, raced to meet flights, and ate whatever food was given to me, like airline food and conference food, which is terrible stuff. My house was a mess, with stacks of bills that I was too busy to open, let alone pay, suitcases half unpacked from the last trip and partially packed for the next. A few times my phone was cut off or my credit card declined. Not because I didn’t have the money, but because I was trying to focus so much on my work and travel that I didn’t have the time to pay bills.
It was embarrassing, as though I couldn’t take control of my own life. This chaos went on for almost a year, until I reached breaking point, and started asking myself, “Why am I living this life? What is the purpose of it? What am I trying to do here? And what is the price I am paying?” My life had become travel, bad food, and not enough exercise and meditation. And I realised that I had to reprioritise. I asked myself, “If I only had a few hours, or just one hour, fully under my control, what would be the one thing I would do with it that would maximise this quality of joy, presence and life? What would support my five essentials on a day-to-day basis?”
I came up with ten items. As the list developed, the idea switched from a theoretical notion to a tactical way to structure my days that would support what’s important to me in my life, what resonates and brings me joy. Your list of how to spend your hours in each day might contain different items with different priorities. My list has changed my life, and I’d like to share it with you.
Incorporating this list into my daily life shapes how I feel as a human being, and it increases my focus and sense of accomplishment. I become more conscious of investing my time in a manner that maximises my energy potential. Once you create your list and start following it, once you consciously spend your twenty-four hours each day, I believe you will enjoy increased physical energy and operate at a higher level of performance and productivity. You will alter your perception of time and change how you view what you should focus on. And most important, you will live a life of greater joy and presence.
So, what are the ten things by which you will organise your twenty-four hours?
- Sleep at least eight hours a night
- Eat mindfully
- Move your body
- Give time to those you love
- Complete small tasks
- Focus at work
- Spend time on passions
- Learn new things
- Be of service
Article written by Gopi Kallayil. Originally published in the February 2017 issue of Heartfulness Magazine.