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Maximizing Life

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It all started with a book I picked up from the library. Hey, Chalene Johnson wrote a book? Cool. What I thought was a book about fitness turned out to be a book about making every goal in your life you’ve ever wanted to achieve happen. This led to me signing up for Chalene Johnson’s 30-Day Challenge, reading Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog (a reference Chalene uses), reading Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan manifesto, and re-reading The Art of Nonconformity. The universe is trying to tell me something I think.

Out of nowhere everywhere, all these resources starting coming at me and they all seemed to have a common synergy. And they all seemed to pick up on my desire for personal progress. I’m feeding my ambitions with all of these resources and you can too.

Here are some of my favorite FREE resources for maximizing your hours, days, and life; melding your passions with your talents until you’re unstoppable; making your dreams a reality; and being more productive. These are not the new-age-y send-positive-vibes-into-the-universe-type resources either. These are legit, human psychology- and science-backed strategies.

Bubble.us: free thought bubble mind map software. Here’s a peek at my thought bubble. I broke it down by life priority and then by goal within that priority. My biggest priorities are God/Spirituality, Relationships, Health, Environment/Home, Career/Financial, Giving Back, Hobbies and Writing/Blogging. You MUST break down your life by priority in order to figure out where to best spend your time, with intention. If you’re not giving time to the things you value most, you’re not going to feel well-balanced.

List-making apps: Chalene strongly recommends using your smartphone for your daily list-making. I do find that when I make lists, I get more done in a day. I’ve used Astrid before and am currently looking into Evernote, Wunderlist and Remember the Milk. List-making sounds like such an unnecessary habit, but those of us that are most productive know just how magically motivating those lists really are. They perpetuate your goals.

Chris Guillebeau’s A Brief Guide to World Domination. Also check out The Art of Nonconformity from your library if they have it. You do not need to approach life in the conventional way, the way mom and dad taught you. Dare to be different. And if you can travel hack like Chris does, then you’ll be well on your way to every continent on Earth.

Michael Hyatt’s Creating your Personal Life Plan manifesto (see his sidebar). I like the way Michael takes a different approach to charting your future, by starting with your death. Michael also takes a Christian approach to life planning, which I strongly identify with.

O magazine: Finding your Passion. If you like pretty charts and worksheets, you’ll love this, my diligent little worker bees. If you don’t know where to start with any of this, start here. You need to know what your passions are before you can embark on pursuing them.

Self Magazine: Creating a 5-year plan based on your passions, dreams and goals. This isn’t the type of 5-year plan that the black suits ask you about in job interviews. This is the type of 5-year plan that makes you feel all giddy to get started.

Erica House: How to Architect your Own Happiness. Check out the mind map Erica uses. You could do that with Bubbl.us listed above. Just doing concept maps makes me happy:)

The Leap: I found this little gem when I was writing reviews for a local bookstore. The case studies of people in this book that went from ho-hum jobs to giant successes are so motivating, it’s hard to sit still. In the most general terms, Rick Smith talks about finding the overlap between your deepest passions and your best talents. Then, you take baby steps to get there, testing the waters first before you make that leap. No need to live in the poor house while you work on your startup!

You can read them all or read one or two. They all boil down to getting your priorities aligned, making steps each day toward your big life plans, and keeping to-do lists to find your happy. The only caveat to this reading list is that you can spend a whole lot of time reading without actually doing anything. Make sure you’re actually putting your plans into action in some small (or big) way every day. Use these materials to give you momentum while you’re charting your future.

Start today. Figure out what you’re meant to do on this Earth.

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