On the importance of every day

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I do every day, how important they are, and whether they make my life better or contribute to my happiness. I was inspired by one of the lessons in Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, that what you do every day matters more, makes more of a difference, than what you do once in a while.

This is serious, turning-my-life-up-side-down stuff. I mean, my life is pretty good, but if I look at what I do every single day, it’s pretty depressing, especially if I compare it with the list of things that I would like to be doing regularly. Basically, my days involve rushing around between work and home responsibilities, spending time with my family, reading (on my commute) and watching TV. I do loads of other things occasionally, maybe once or twice a week – I excercise, I write, I paint or do other creative projects. But I don’t do them regularly and I always feel disappointed that they’re not bringing me the benefits I expected them to.

I decided that it’s the TV-watching that’s a problem, even though I am a proud TV-series fan and definitely don’t think that watching TV series is a waste of time. But even if it’s not, even if it’s fun, do I need to be doing it every single day? Wouldn’t it be better if, say, I went for a walk every single day and only watched a little bit of TV? Or went for a walk every single day, did something creative every other day, and only watched TV every other day?

Thing is, after all that rushing around between home and work stuff, I’m so tired that all I want to do is veg on the couch and have someone entertain me with a good story. So introducing changes had to involve some extra thinking.

I thought about the way I wanted to feel every day. I want to feel energised, inspired, productive, calm and happy. I can get 4 out of 5 of those out of something I picked up in the past year, though haven’t been doing regularly. Yoga. The fifth, feeling productive, can easily be a product of the others. I know I accomplish more if am energised and calm.

So there it is, my transformation of the every day. I added yoga to my days and so far, so good. Yesterday, I also added meditation, because I’ve been talking about it for ages and, having done it regularly before, am perfectly aware of the benefits it brings.

If you’re on a similar track, I can recommend the yoga books by Tara Stiles, because they have 10-15 minute routines for specific things that may be troubling you. For meditation, I started Deepak Chopra’s 21-day meditation challenge, available as an iPad app. Each meditation has a different focus and I’m enjoying it so far. Both the books and the app were recommended by my friend Agnieszka, let’s see if she still reads this blog! 🙂

For extra inspiration, read this article on Brain Pickings.

How about you? Are you happy with your every day? What would you like to fit in more regularly?

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14 thoughts on “On the importance of every day

  1. Good for you! Writing and yoga every day have always been my goals but, like you, I find myself rushing around between work tasks and cleaning the house. Each time I think about it, I’m like, I’ll start next week. Not good practice. We are going on a big trip so I’m thinking after and during that, I’m going to do some soul searching and realign my days. Thanks for the post — good positive thoughts.

  2. Joanna, I was inspired by that same lesson. I realized that I didn’t read as much as I wanted to. I don’t often watch tv anymore but I haven’t paid much attention to my art journal either. I really want to learn how to draw. I’m still not happen with my everyday routine but after school is out, I can make some much needed changes. I hope you’re able to keep your new routine up. It sounds like it’s bringing you happiness. 🙂

  3. This is so the right post at the right time for me. I definitely don’t do the things that matter to me the most every day – lately it feels like I never do them at all. And if I want to feel like myself, this is something that’s going to have to change.

  4. This everyday things idea feels to me linked with the power of habit issues you were mentioning a while back. I am an incredible procrastinator, but whenever I really commit for a couple of weeks, then the habit part of it kicks in and it becomes something easy. We just need to avoid falling off tracks for too many days, otherwise we’re back on the old habit…
    I hope the yoga thing is going well. I’m still on the “oh well, tomorrow”, part of it… I guess in order to really do it I should get up even earlier, before the kids…

    • It’s hard to fit more into an already busy day without driving yourself crazy. I’m becoming more and more relaxed about scheduling, despite making plans to do more. If I don’t feel like doing it, then I won’t.

  5. I understand what you mean. Sometimes, it’s just EXHAUSTING to be productive every day, though! I do try to work out very regularly, and cook my meals, and see my friends, and read my books, and do my work, and so many other things – it’s hard to find time but I think once you DO prioritize something regularly, it just becomes part of your schedule and you are just used to it so don’t think about how it is a decision so much as just something you do.

  6. This is a wonderful post — lots of good things to think about. I think I watch too much tv too, especially tv to just pass the time. I put on the tv while I eat breakfast, for example, and then end up sitting in front of it for awhile before work. I’d like to start my day out with more intention, but I’m not sure how yet. Yoga might be a nice thing to try.

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