How to Feel More Fulfilled by Doing Less- Part 4/4

mental health Apr 28, 2019

This past month we’ve been exploring the theme of fulfillment. The first post explored how fulfillment can be rooted in the passion of running your business. The second post talked about ways to find a sense of purpose outside of your business. Part three identified key areas of your life that may bring you more fulfillment. And finally, part four (today) will talk about how to feel fulfilled by creating more space or openness in your day.

As technology advances, it seems that our lives are getting busier. We feel pressure to be constantly connected and available at all times. We have thousands of online “friends” yet few meaningful connections. That mindset makes it hard to truly shut off at the end of the workday, let alone feel fulfilled. The go-go-go mentality is a recipe for burnout and leaves you with a feeling of emptiness. In an attempt to combat this rising concern, the UK appointed a Minister of Loneliness at the start of 2018. 

While we don’t have a Minister of Loneliness, perhaps we should. Or perhaps we just need to take matters into our own hands and focus on our own happiness. I’m not suggesting that you take on a million other things in your day to do this. I’m suggesting that you may find more fulfillment by doing less.

Rather than feeling like you need to fill every space in your day, embrace some openness. Use gifts of empty or open time to be able to do more activities that give us a deeper connection to the things that are important.

For example, we’ve all gotten a gift of time handed to us. Sometimes we don’t see it that way. Here’s some examples. Think of when you’re at a restaurant and you have to wait a few minutes to get your table. The person you’re meeting is running a few minutes late. Or you’re stuck in traffic. While these situations may make your blood boil, you can look at them in a different light.

Use that time to be able to take some deep breaths and to slow down. Practice some mindfulness work to recharge or to refocus your priorities. Instead of mindlessly scrolling on social media, how can you organize the next few things you need to do in your day. Or can you make a quick phone call and say hello to a friend you truly love?

There are several new programs designed around teaching you to spend less time “connected” online. The goal is to spend more time “connected” in person. It’s not that technology is bad, it’s about how we use it that matters.

Fulfillment comes from not having to fill every moment of empty time with a productive activity. Or a mind-numbing activity like social media. It’s also about being able to use your time more effectively. There is lots of new research coming out about decision fatigue. The number of decisions that we need to make in a day can become overwhelming. Intentionally structuring your day to minimize task switching can help you to be more productive.

For example, when you get mail, how do you handle it? If you’re like most people, you open it, then you shift it to a pile. Then you look at it a few times thinking that you have to pay it. Eventually, you get around to paying it and then file it somewhere. The entire process has between three to five touch points on one piece of mail. To be more efficient, pay your bills twice a month or automate them so you don’t even need to touch the paper! Chunking activities increases productivity and leave you with more free time to do things you love. As a result, you’ll start to feel more fulfilled and happier with other aspects of your life.

To wrap up this series, there’s many different components of fulfillment. As business owners, it’s incredibly important to protect our mental health. We need to ensure that we round out other areas of our life. By doing so, we’re able to offer our best self to the world and to our businesses. And in the event that our business fails, that we also have a strong sense of self and a solid foundation to cushion our fall.

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