How to Structure Your Life

In last week’s blog I introduced the concept of structuring your life. If you missed that article then you can read it here, as it will form the background for what I am discussing here.

In that article I discussed the seven major areas of life which we must all engage in order to live happy, productive and fulfilling lives. These are:

1) Personal and intellectual development.
2) Career and life calling or mission.
3) Health and fitness.
4) Relationships and social network.
5) Spiritual and emotional development.
6) Financial stability and freedom.
7) Contribution to society and those who are less fortunate.

I also explained how we only have 4 hours of free time left in our day, after we account for all our activities of daily living including working, commuting, meals and errands. It is how we use these 4 hours of free time that will determine the quality of our lives.

If you did the exercise from last week’s article, you would have rated yourself in the seven major areas of your life, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being you are well on your way to achieving your goals in that area and 1 being that you have not even started. If you did not already do this, then do it now.

Once you have rated all seven areas of your life, then pick the three that have the lowest score or the ones that you would like to make the most progress on. Once you have identified these three areas, you then must set your desired goals in that area. For example, if you are lacking in health and fitness, then one of your goals could be to lose 30 pounds in the next month. If you are in financial debt, one of your goals could be to save 10% of your income and pay down a certain percentage of your debt each month. If you are unfulfilled at work, then another goal could be to go through exercises to discover your higher mission or calling in life and then to work towards achieving it.

Once you have picked the three areas of your life that you would like to focus on, then you must come up with a plan to work towards your goals in those areas. Your next step is to uncover the next smallest step you can take to move the needle towards achieve that goal. For example, to lose weight, you may have to cut out all sugar and desserts from your diet. In order to get out of financial debt, you may have to cut out frivolous and unnecessary expenses. Whatever that next step is, you must identify it and then start implementing that step the 4 hours of free time you have left in your day.

For example, in order to cut out sugar and desserts from your diet, you may have to become creative with the meals that prepare for dinner to make them both nutritious and flavourful so you don’t crave sweets. This may require you to spend some of your free time preparing these meals. In order to reassess your expenses, you may need to spend some of your free time, creating a list of everything that you spend money on, in a typical week, and scrutinizing each one’s importance to determine what you need to eliminate.

You see, the next smallest step to make progress in the three areas of your life that you choose to focus on will be different for each of you. The important thing is that you identify these areas and you start taking action towards your goals in these areas and this is one way to structure your life in order to do this.

This does not have to be overwhelming, as I have shown you, but it is necessary if you want to live your life to the fullest instead of being a victim of outer circumstances, which can distract you and pull you in the wrong direction. You have the power to change your life. however, it is up to you to make the choice to take the right action.

Dr. Nauman Naeem

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