There are a lot of great pieces of advice on how to have a better life, how to be happier and so on. Some say: “Think positive,” others encourage you to “look at the bright side on everything.” While all that is helpful and true, in a way, what it all comes down to at the end is: “Do things that you love doing.”

“Easier said than done,” you say? “I have to work, take care of the kids, take them to their hobbies, feed them, clean the house etc.” How can you find the time to do what you love to do?

Well, there are basically two ways of making the change. Either you take some “baby steps” or you make a huge change at once. Whatever works for you best. Some people need to make a radical change, but for some making small changes is a better choice. However you do it is up to you, but the fact remains that you need to do things that you love doing, in order to live a happier life.

Think of a target board, where you have a center and three rings around the center. The outermost ring of the target represents things that are not urgent and not important to you. These could be things like watching TV, hanging out with friends, reading a novel or something similar.

The next ring toward the center represents things that are urgent but not important. These are the petty things that sometimes seem run our lives. They are often things that are requested by other people, but have no real importance to you. They often make you feel important and busy, but in the end, they don’t really serve you or your purposes.

The third ring toward the center represents things that are important and urgent. These are mainly the important things that you have to react upon, things like taking care of an injured child or a sudden opportunity to do a project or a task that you really enjoy taking.

Then there is the center of the target. These are the things that are important but not urgent. This is the proactive area of your life, where you are working on things that you really enjoy and love doing, but don’t have the urgency attached to them. This is where you plan and create things.

In order for you start building the life you want, the happier life, you need to spend more time on the center of the target. You need to spend more time on doing things that are important to you, but not urgent. That is not to say that you need to get rid of spending time on the other areas, but more like starting to increase the amount of time you spend on the items in the center.

How can you do that when life is so hectic and you just can’t find the time to do that? The answer is: you need to prioritize. There are a lot of time management programs available, so I am not going to get in too much detail on that subject. But there are some extremely useful questions that you can ask yourself whenever you are writing your to-do lists or having a battle on what to do next. Ask yourself:
- “Is this really important to me?”
- “Is doing this taking me toward my goals?”
- “Is this promoting a happier life for me?”

Answering these questions might not bring an instant improvement to your life, but if you start asking yourself these questions constantly, you will soon notice a change in what you do and how you look at things.

And don’t worry about becoming too selfish if you start paying more attention to your needs and desires. If you want to make other people’s lives happier, you first have to be happy yourself. You cannot give others what you don’t have.

Author's Bio: 

Written by Hannu Pirila, CEO and founder of HPA Consulting, eMBA, Licensed Trainer of NLP, Licensed NLP Coach, Licensed Sports Performance Coach and Licensed Business NLP Practitioner. The author is one of the leading Personal Development and NLP Coaches in Finland.