Often, when people ask me how I have the time to do everything that I am doing in my life, they immediately tend to follow up with something like “Oh, you must have help at home or a big team that takes care of things at work for you.” I find it interesting that if I give people a simple response such as “I do what I dream, and I dream what I do.” they look at me as if I am from another world or like it really can’t be that easy. Almost always they then resort to making up reasons why they feel they can’t have everything they want for themselves. The number-one justification I’ve seen is defeatism: “Well, I can’t do what you do,” or “Not everyone’s dreams come true, you’re just lucky,” or “Things just don’t work out for me.”

Why is it that as humans, we tend to underestimate another person’s accomplishments and what it may have taken to achieve them but often overestimate our own hurdles, or even mentally create obstacles that don’t exist in reality? We live in a time now where staying “busy” is a cool way of “being.” If you don’t say that you’re so busy whenever you’re asked how you’re doing, you get a look of astonishment or disgust, as if you’re not doing enough if In fact, many of us run around in this constant state of husy-ness, to the point of exhaustion or feeling overwhelmed, and never experience the sense of satisfaction or fulillment that comes from actually achieving something great or even profoundly rewarding. We say yes to things just to please others; however, we say no to ourseives when it comes to taking care of our own mind. body, and energy. We say we don’t have time to meditate or self-reflect: however, we make time to go to a social event that we may not even enjoy.

So, what can we do about this busy—ness of life that we can’t seem to escape and don’t know how to manage? We must cultivate the art of feeling fulfilled by everything we do, and strive to only do those things that truly fulfill us to our core. We must all become experts on managing not just our time, but also our energy and our mind.

Here are some practical tips for living a deeply fulfilling life and a life by design, not by default:

1. Wake up in the morning and smile at the fact that you woke up and made it to another day in this great world.

2. Write down three things you are truly grateful for and really try to fee! those emotions within you.

3. Then write down three simple priorities you WILL complete today. They can be as simple as walking the dog or prepping your lunch for the next day. Do not make this a huge list.

4. During the day, think of your energy as money. The same way you would not give out free money to everyone around you, reserve your energy only for those things where you see a positive ROI. For example, sending out negative energy on people always has a negative R0I for you, or spending a ton of energy on a situation that you cannot change is not worth the investment of energy to you.

5. Keep a journal by the hour on what exactly you are doing in a 24-hour day and how much time you are spending on each activity. You’d be surprised to see how many minutes in a day you are currently living by defauit that you can live by design instead.

6. Before going to bed at night, look at your gratefulness journal and again feel so thankful for your life in general and all the things in your life that you’re grateful for. Then look at your list of priorities that you wrote down to compiete today and feel immensely fulfilled for completing them. Don’t forget to make one priority always about taking care of yourself!

Once you start looking at the things you do in your life, prioritizing your “musts” over your “shoulds” and “nice to haves” and living your life by design, you will start to feel deeply fulfilled each minute of the day and feel excited to start a new day. By being mindful about how you approach your life, you can conquer the feeling of being overwhelmed and without purpose.

This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.