Habit 12: Living a purposeful and goal directed day so you can be positively productive and find meaning in your daily tasks
Because we’re motivated hard working people, we want to achieve a happy and successful life. But sometimes this feels a bit vague or illusive and we need to plan and achieve that life without wasting time and energy. We do this by setting up a routine and habits to enjoy each day and love our lives.
This is what this article is about: Building your day so it ties in with your definition of a happy and successful life and enjoying the day you’re in.
Loving the day you’re in
It’s great to have a sense of overall life purpose but we want that sense of purpose to infiltrate into our daily routines and responsibilities. Then we end the day with success and fulfillment. To do this we need to define our best lives first.
A definition of happiness and success to provide the foundation to daily planning
How we define happiness and success will differ between us, but often we define it in the following four ways;
- A meaningful life with motivating goals and a way to achieve them (without overworking or neglecting important people and times of rest)
- A happy, peaceful family life. This may or may not involve children and marriage. Family means many things. For example, if you’re single, this could be friends, work colleagues, community groups, and pets.
- A job or career we enjoy and succeed in. This means building our skills, doing meaningful and satisfying work, and getting along with our colleagues as a productive team.
- Enjoying the day we’re in so we can be happy now. Not just hoping to be happy someday when we get what we think will bring us happiness.
The challenges we face in seeking these things and how to overcome them with the life folders strategy
Our definitions of a happy and successful life can become daunting and vague. We’re ambitious and hard working but we need vision and clarity so we can work well and achieve what’s meaningful to us. Then we look back on our day with peace and achievement. For this, its helpful to define what your best life means.
What is your best life?
I define this as practices for living a peaceful, purposeful and productive life that shows up in our daily habits and plans.
At a deeper level it is a life that is rich in character (who you are), connection (who you’re with) and calling (your life purpose and mission). I talk about this in two articles here and here. These concepts are the foundation of my writing and counseling/ coaching process.
Your plan is centered in you
Your best life is defined by you and incorporates your personality, values, culture, beliefs and preferences. Therefore it is specific to you, your life circumstances, and is changeable when you need it to change. I work from a person Centered and solution focused approach, which means you are the expert in your life and you have the capacity and strengths to define and plan your best life. I recommend you adapt these steps to your personal values, goals and personality as I mentioned above.
The benefits of living in the day you’re in and not just searching for the best future.
Part of the process of enjoying each day does involve understanding your dreams and goals for the future.
We need to know what we’re aiming for so we can plan each week and day, but It’s this planning process that allows you to focus on the day and feel the achievement of a day well used. This includes time with people and planning rest.
What a meaningful day is not
Daily purpose doesn’t mean a day of working to exhaustion and draining yourself. When you plan well, you can focus and choose habits and activities that narrow your decisions and behaviours so you have more time for rest, family and enjoyment.
The life folders plan
In this article I offer a six step plan to living with daily purpose and planning so you can enjoy your day and love your life.
This process is central to the coaching I provide women in professions who are smart, ambitious and want to enjoy each day, succeed in work and love their lives. This process involves the design of your life folders, which is a conceptual way of defining and planning your best life and living it in daily habits.
Below I’ll describe these steps in detail and some research behind them. My aim is to inspire you to make a workable plan and daily habits to build your best life.
What are life folders?
The process helps you separate the components of your life (folders) so you can visualize the end goal and make habits to improve and thrive in this areas. All areas interact but the folders concept brings clarity and vision to the surface. You can then set goals, and make clear simple plans and habits to enjoy your day, succeed in work and love your life.
Six steps to creating your life folders so you can enjoy each day and love the life you have
- Understand the impact of your personality on taking action. This includes discovering any roadblocks or thinking processes that may be holding you back and finding new ways of seeing so you can believe in yourself and your goals. 
- Define your preferred future. My counseling and coaching process is based on creating vision, setting goals and finding solutions (derived from solution focused counseling). To start this process, you articulate what you want to see where you want to go. 
- Set goals that align with your desired future that are meaningful, motivating, and aligned with your values 
- Learn strategies to fight procrastination, and design your preferred life. The authors here recommend: understanding your values to increase your interest, setting goals, increasing your energy, reduce your choices to a small list, limit your time to complete the task, and use problem solving to get going. I will be delving into preventing procrastination in a later article.
- Design your weekly goals and write your preferred day statement. This is the day to day planning and action that is balanced, peaceful, purposeful and productive but avoids empty tasks and overwork. In an upcoming article, I talk about how to write your preferred day statement in more detail.
- Reflect on the day using my life well -lived process. In a study here, the authors looked at cancer survivors and noticed some people derive meaning from difficult events and thrive. To do this we look at the day and challenges we faced. From there we reflect on the positive and negative events and what we can gain from them. In a future article i’ll be covering this process in detail.
Have a read through the six steps and jot down some thoughts about each stage. keep these handy because i’ll be delving into these more in 6 upcoming articles.
 Komulainen E, Meskanen K, Lipsanen J, Lahti JM, Jylhä P, et al. (2014) The Effect of Personality on Daily Life Emotional Processes. PLOS ONE 9(10): e110907. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0110907
 Beutel ME, Klein EM, Aufenanger S, Brähler E, Dreier M, et al. (2016) Procrastination, Distress and Life Satisfaction across the Age Range – A German Representative Community Study. PLOS ONE 11(2): e0148054. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0148054
 van der Spek N, Vos J, van Uden-Kraan CF, Breitbart W, Tollenaar RAEM, et al. (2013) Meaning Making in Cancer Survivors: A Focus Group Study. PLOS ONE 8(9): e76089. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0076089