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5 Tried, Tested, and True Ways to Level Up Your Life

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5 Tried, Tested, and True Ways to Level Up Your Life

If you are reading this post, I know you are interested in hacking your life — but what exactly does that mean?

Every month or so, I get together with a group of like-minded businesspeople in Managua, and we discuss our latest projects, triumphs, failures, and sticky situations. The hours I spend with them are some of the best times of each month. Get a group of go-getters together and the theme of leveling up and achieving/striving/trying will creep in somehow.

Our last meeting, though, was different.

I’ve noticed a shift in my go-getter friends. We all want to do great things and live great lives, but we’re also tired. No longer were we talking about projects and business models. Instead, we discuss running ourselves ragged without creating a worthwhile impact.

The words I heard over and over again were freedom, family, and time. In essence, we all want to level up, and have more freedom, more family, and more time.

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How can we hack our lives to get more of those: freedom, family, and time?

1. Seek Out the “Hell yes!”

There are so many decisions we make each day, but few of them inspire us to throw our hands in the air with excitement. What if we were to use that reasoning to guide us?

  • A fun new client? Hell yes!
  • A useless meeting? No, thanks.
  • Dinner with inspiring peers? Hell yes!
  • Mind-numbing tasks? No, thanks.

Seeking out the “hell yes!” in every decision injects serious energy into every moment.

Noticing exactly how I feel about each incoming opportunity and task helps me navigate my decisions and stay true to what makes me feel awesome.

2. Do more of the good

Each and every day, I know what I should be adding to my life. I love to write when it feels like nobody else is around, no phones are ringing, and emails are blocked off. If I want to add more of that every day, I can choose to schedule it and stick to a writing schedule that feels great.

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Doing more of good stuff will feel like adding extra layers of awesome to your life.

What activities would you do more of if you had the choice? What can you do to achieve that?

    3. Do less of the bad

    Very similar to what I described above, there are activities that I long to partake in much less. Personally, the administration piece of my startup makes me feel drained and worried (even when we’re doing well). I will always have to oversee that activity, but I learned to significantly diminish my involvement by delegating straining tasks.

    Doing less of the bad stuff in your life will feel like avoiding so many traps!

    If you could choose to dump parts of your life, what would they be? Can you take some small steps to achieve that tomorrow or the next day?

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    4. Divide your life in two

    Every single action and activity in our lives falls on either side of a line. I use the line to divide my life into two areas: that which feels liberating and that which feels limiting.

    • Working from home? Liberating.
    • Taking on a picky client due to economic needs? Limiting.
    • Waking up early to write in privacy? Liberating.
    • Doing weights at the gym when I’d rather be running? Limiting.

    Keeping more of my day on the side of “liberating” opens me up to feeling free and joyful.

    What do you find liberating in your life? What do you find limiting? You can use that personal information to judo chop your decisions.

    5. Focus on the process

    I am not going to lie to you. I sit on the fence about goals and striving for better in my life. Setting goals most definitely helps me find direction, but sometimes I stress out way too much about the end result. Lately, I’ve offset that stress by trying to focus more on the actual process of achieving anything. When I’m running, it’s easy for me to start daydreaming about the beach body I want — but why not focus on the actual running instead?

    By focusing on the process, I let go of the stress to achieve something and I have a lot more fun with what’s going on in the actual moment.

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    In the end, improving our lives and living every single day as if it’s a vacation is a long journey of self-development — but it’s incredibly worthwhile.

    When you think of leveling up your life, what do you picture? How can you get there?

    Featured photo credit: Multiple layers of escalators in a shopping center via Shutterstock and inline photo by Alan Levine via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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