Life, it’s a balancing act between competing priorities. Sometimes one thing is the most important, other times another should be at the front of the queue. It’s hard to keep up.

Unfortunately, work has a way of being the most urgent, even when it’s not the most important. President Eisenhower categorised activities as follows:The Eisenhower Box

The above approach is the ideal, but often, most of your work cannot be delegated – so the challenge is to apply this way of thinking to your “free” time to maximise your happiness and productivity.

What is important to you, and what makes you happy will be highly individual, but there are seven core areas you should address now you have some time:

  1. Exercise
    Exercise is the best thing to keep you sharp. People who exercise 30 minutes a day, five times a week, enjoy better overall brain health.
  2. Learning
    Learn something new. Learning new things can increase both personal and business productivity by 37 percent.
  3. Hobbies
    Hobbies are the best outlet for stress and an excellent source of creativity – which of course will benefit your planning and work focus. Plus, I like to imagine it makes us happier.
  4. Reading
    The best way to keep up with successful individuals is to read. reading is another activity which boosts your creativity.
  5. Mindfulness
    Practicing mindfulness doesn’t have to mean doing yoga or meditating, though either will do the job. It could just mean sitting in stillness for twenty minutes once a day.
  6. Service
    Giving back to your community makes you to think about things outside work, which enables you to evaluate how to improve your business. It puts your life into perspective, which reduces the stress of constantly focusing on your own problems.
  7. Family
    Regularly devote your entire attention to those you love most. For a few hours each week, stop thinking about work and enjoy what’s going on at home.

Treat this list as a starting point – but don’t skip any of the items when considering what matters to you!


Jay Stephens – Lead Thought Provoker
Jay began his career in London with Rabobank, CLS bank and a Lloyd’s of London syndicate. Jay’s work has spanned corporate communications, content editing, newspaper articles, courseware, blogging, policy drafting, technical writing, and a regular crossword. He is passionate about 8-bit tunes, self-improvement, and the Oxford comma.