As of late, I have noticed a negative development in my life that started to take place when I had some days off. I found myself having some spare time (to be precise: lots of spare time) without having something to do. Now, don´t understand me wrong, it can be tremendous joyful and relaxing to be living for the moment without having any plans and tasks at all, without having stress or being responsible for anything. I really enjoyed these days, but I also noticed that this lifestyle without purposes started to become boring, which resulted in me wanting to be entertained. Whenever boredom occurred I started to turn on the TV or the computer to spend my time searching for entertainment and other distractions from being bored. I was drifting through life and it started to become more and more complicated to pursue tasks or to stay in touch with friends in these few days, as I was permanently shifting through different seasons on TV and websites on the internet. The information overload that came down on me was quite difficult to handle and yet I was still searching different sites on the internet for breaking news.
You can tell that I was quite happy to be back at my work and to have left all that “drifting through the day” behind, but I also made the decision to start living my life more conscious than before. I came to this decision as I felt overwhelmed by the flood of data I was subjected to in my daily life, triggered by modern technology. Please don´t get me wrong, I love the fact that everyone can gather information about every topic via the internet and see whatever they are interested in at the TV, but it also can lead to excessive demand, if these tools are not implemented consciously but are used for entertainment purposes only. So I made my decision to start living my life more conscious. Here is how I started to live a more conscious life!
How to live a conscious life?
First of all: What does it mean to live consciously? Living your life conscious is the exact opposite of drifting through life, you start to scrutinize before making a conscious choice, instead of just letting external influences decide for you. You do know where you want to go without getting distracted by any means. And the most important aspect of living consciously is that you take control of your life!
Live your life conscious: #1 Eliminate Distractions
The very first thing I did was to identify the distractions that stole my time, made me lose my focus and kept me from doing what needed to be done. I took off the power plug of my TV, threw my TV guide away and restricted the access to various internet sites that I knew were stealing my time (I´m using the free Firefox plug-in called “LeechBlock” that allows me to block different sites [such as social networks and email services]during given periods of time). Furthermore, I muted my mobile phone and set a time in the evening where I would recall the ones that wanted to speak to me. By eliminating only these three distractions I was able to save a tremendous amount of time that I could use for more conscious activities. I think that it is the utmost important thing to identify and eliminate distractions when it comes to living life consciously, as we cannot speak about a conscious lifestyle when we direct our focus from one distraction to the other.
Live your life conscious: #2 Boredom
What happens next, once we eliminated all possible distractions, is that boredom starts to enter our lives. Of course, you might not feel bored at work as you might have enough tasks and projects that require your attention, but the boredom starts to occur when we have spare time. And this time we cannot avoid it by seeking for distractions or activities that could possibly entertain us. When boredom strikes we have entered a critical phase and a lot of charming excuses will start to come up that deliver perfect reasons to turn on the TV, log into the internet or do whatever it takes to avoid being bored. It is upon yourself to make the decision between becoming weak and returning to the old habits or to persevere and fight the excuses. It pays off to persevere as boredom lets us realize what is really important for us and what tasks really need to be done, besides the demand to be entertained and distracted. Boredom also lets us gain back the control of our life and it gives us important time to think about decisions and choices.
Live your life conscious: #3 Turn off the autopilot
There is no secret on how to live consciously. The whole “conscious living” concept can be described with only one sentence: “Think about what you do and make conscious decisions rather than being on autopilot and letting yourself getting influenced by your habits.” That is it plain and simple. Now when locking back to the time I had some days off I started to behave on autopilot and developed habits that set the agenda. I wasn´t making conscious choices and I didn´t reflect these choices, as it seems that I wasn´t thinking at all. When you discover yourself behaving on autopilot doing what you always did as you are used to it you have also reached a point where only a slight percentage of your decisions are being made conscious. Turn off the autopilot and break out of your habits, routines and the way you would approach things usually. If you normally decide to walk to work then mix things up a little and take your bike. If you normally brush your teeth with your right hand then have a try with your left hand, even though it is complicated the very first times. Try to bring as much diversification into your everyday life and develop the habit to make conscious decisions.
Live your life conscious: #4 Question decisions
Reflecting is an important part of living conscious and by questioning certain decisions you can help you to abolish unconscious habits and allows you to avoid falling into new habits. Focus on questioning these decisions that you made out of a habit in an unconscious way, not the decisions you invested a lot of time to evaluate the positive and negative outcomes of it.
What are the benefits of living consciously?
The advantages of living life conscious are obvious and range from having more time, making conscious decisions up to being able to avoid procrastination. In the following are some more advantages of living consciously:
- Action vs. Reaction
Living conscious means that YOU are the one that takes action, instead of reacting to other people’s decisions and/or external circumstances. It furthermore means that you are the once making the final decisions about things in your life, from your career, goals up to relationships.
- Overcome stress
Living life consciously helps you to overcome stress as it allows you to spend your valuable time on the things that really matter for your life rather than wasting your time with distracting activities. Well and the less stress you experience in life the more efficient you can work and the happier you can live.
When you are able to reduce distractions you will notice that you start to develop a clear focus towards the things in life that matter to you. It is easier for you to make better decisions as you start to gain a better overview and new horizons start to expand.