Sometimes our lives get messy, not so much from negativity as from inertia. Inertia results in half-done tasks and never-ending to-do lists that clutter our minds. Delay and procrastination set you up for frustration. You'll find yourself constantly in the past, trying to catch up. Prioritize the elements of your life. Consider what is most important: career, family, friends, health and fitness, a romantic relationship, travel or a special interest/hobby. List the desired elements of your life in order of importance. Each day take five minutes to review how your schedule aligns with your priority list. Is there something that you spend time on that is not really a priority, and takes up too much time? Name a step you could take that would change that. Enlist the people who have an effect on your daily organization and ask them for help. Be creative with solutions. Offer to swap child-watching duties with a friend each week so you both get some "me" time. Negotiate with your boss for a later arrival/departure time one day a week so you can go to the gym.
Finally, there’s the economy. Survival in the hypercompetitive, globalized economy, where workers have fewer protections and are more disposable than ever, requires that we try to become faster, smarter, and more creative. (To this list of marketable qualities I’d add one with a softer edge: niceness, which the gig economy and its five-star rating system have made indispensable to everyone from cabdrivers to plumbers.) Anything less than our best won’t cut it.

But soon enough February will come, mid-winter doldrums will set in, and you’ll start to slide. Not to worry. Jane McGonigal’s “SuperBetter” tells you how to gamify your way back from the edge with the help of video-game-inspired techniques like finding “allies” and collecting motivational “power-ups”; and Angela Duckworth’s “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” reminds you that persistence makes all the difference when the going gets rough. Duckworth doesn’t think you need talent in order to become, as another of Duhigg’s books puts it, “Smarter Better Faster,” and neither do any of these other experts. According to their systems, anyone can learn to be more efficient, more focussed, more effective in the pursuit of happiness and, that most hallowed of modern traits, productivity. And if you can’t, well, that’s on you.
Boost the quality of your life by socializing and networking. It’s been said that 79% of rich people spend 5 hours or more networking, whereas the poor spend 16% of their time doing so. But, networking doesn’t have to be just solely for business. take an interest in other peoples’ lives and you’ll be surprised just how much it will come back to you.
As Editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. Her work has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., Motto, CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.
For example, every evening I shower, make my lunch for the next day, and spend 10 or so minutes doing something that relaxes me in bed, whether that’s scrolling through social media, reading 15 pages of a book, or talking to my parents on the phone. It’s not always like this, but the consistency helps me fall asleep better and feel prepared to conquer the day ahead.
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