How to Live Brilliantly in 16 Hours each Day.

Via Lauren Hanna
on Sep 19, 2011
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Photo: Sanja Gjenero

Every day is the first day of the rest of your life.

7 a.m.: Brush your teeth to this music video in the morning. Maybe dance along.

8 a.m.: Support your local and city newspapers by reading them over that homemade sustainable breakfast of eggs, avocado and organic meat of choice that you acquired from your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share.

(To be fair, I can’t actually afford a CSA farm share… Nor could I eat all of its contents probably).

And then turn your phone off while you drive to work or school.

9 a.m.: Bring crayons to that morning meeting or class. Doodle while you work. (Doodling helps our memory).

10 a.m.: Check in with The Daily Love for your “Free daily e-multivitamin for your soul!”

Your journey to improving any aspect of your life should begin with honest self-evaluation: where are you, right now, today; and how prepared are you to take that very first step to celebrating your uniqueness?

11 a.m.: Remember that happiness is a choice. Choose joy or choose sorrow. But know that both choices require participation.

12 p.m.: Midday pick-me-up:

So hold my hand, I’ll walk with you my dear
The stairs creak as I sleep, it’s keeping me awake
It’s the house telling you to close your eyes

1 p.m.: Lunch break? Take out that book you’ve been meaning to read. Carry it in your bag at all times—you never know when you’ll have a moment, and you’ll never regret having it available when a client cancels, the bus is late, while sitting on the subway or eating lunch at your cubicle.

A few books you should read in this lifetime: Night by Elie Wiesel, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

2 p.m.: Kick up to handstand.

3 p.m:. Stumble your interests for five minutes… No, really. StumbleUpon is the most dynamic tool for inspiration on the web today. Write down ten creative thoughts that come up.

4 p.m.: This is the time where you do that thing that makes you happy every day. No matter what it is. Myself – I like to catch up with my favorite blogs, paint or do yoga.

5 p.m.: Go to the grocery store. Only buy what you need for that evening and tomorrow’s meals, and whatever isn’t included in that CSA Farm Share you have! Buying in advance can be wasteful and it’s always a disappointment when food goes bad before you get to eat it. Better to buy smaller portions more often.

Shop the outer edges of the market, and pick up a bundle of sunflowers before you checkout. Season’s almost over, after all.

6 p.m.: Call someone you love. Ask them how they are. Listen to what they say.

7 p.m.: Return to the list of 10 creative thoughts you wrote down during your StumbleUpon hour. Choose your favorite one. Bring it into fruition.

8 p.m.: Shut down your computer for the night.

9 p.m.: What happens when we don’t have our computer for the last two hours of the night?! Oh no!

10 p.m.: Put yourself together for the following day. Maybe pack your lunch, iron your clothes and make sure the dishes are done. A clutter free morning starts the day off brighter. And a brighter morning means a brighter day.

Before bed, spend 10 minutes in a silent meditation. Send love and gratitude to yourself, to those you love and even to those that challenge you on a daily basis.

If meditation isn’t your thing, mesmerize yourself on this:


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About Lauren Hanna

Lauren Hanna, E-RYT 200, MSS Candidate, is a social worker by day and yoga ninja by night. It was in Pittsburgh that she first discovered the thrill of yoga and her love for social welfare and animal rescue work. With her cats Lotus and Calia in tow, Lauren hopes to someday combine her love for yoga and animal welfare with her career as a social worker. Lauren likes to dream a lot about saving the world – one puppy, kitten and human at a time. Lauren also loves cobblestone streets, arts & crafts, action movies and writing books with her Grandmother. If she had a billion dollars she'd probably spend it all here. Follow her @laurenfoste.


15 Responses to “How to Live Brilliantly in 16 Hours each Day.”

  1. Chris Lemig says:

    Thank you for this! I think these guidelines are wonderful but the really amazing implication is that we can align our lives towards happiness if we choose to. It just takes mindfulness and a little bit of self-discipline.

  2. I like that you mention self-discipline. Sometimes I get to a fork in the road and my two choices are: sulking or making the best of something. Sulking can seem like the easier option – but choosing the other path always makes us feel better. That's discipline — choosing something you know will be better for you in the long run, even if its hard right now.

  3. Mr. Chips says:

    First world problems.

  4. We have to take care of ourselves if we're ever going to be able to help others 🙂 That includes helping those outside of the "First World," as you say.

  5. flatirons says:

    what is the name of the first song?

  6. Sara says:

    "Call On Me"

  7. Sara says:

    This is awesome, thanks for posting!

  8. I love this! Thank you Lauren! Do you have a regular blog? I'm love to read more about some of your animal stuff. I'm having a lot of issues as of now with one of my dogs!

  9. Thanks Hannah! My regular blogging has been moved to elephant – but I used to blog at If you'd like to email me at [email protected] I can send you some articles about dog behavior issues. A few of my animal-specific "how-to-fix" articles can be found at:

    Be well!

  10. Eric The Eagl says:

    #6 is a good one but the rest seems to suffer under
    "Chronic Over Achiever Syndrome"

  11. LOVE this! Surprised I haven't read it before… This is going up on… somewhere very accessible! The point is the reminders (there are many paths.) <3 Thank you!

  12. Kristin says:

    I love the idea, but I don't know how I could fit this all in and get my work done for my job… Sometimes I feel like I make myself more stressed thinking that I SHOULD make time for yoga, cook for myself, etc. when I'm already stressed. It's hard to find the balance.

  13. LynnBonelli says:

    I so want to put that first song on my running playlist…my problem though is that I may break out in dance while on the treadmill! I love all of the simple suggestions…make a creativity list, calling people you love (rather than texting or 'liking' something on their FB page), and dancing in the morning. And I can certainly vouch for meditation…it saved my life, and is worth making time if you want to find balance.

  14. Marci says:

    I love these ideas but this schedule isn’t possible with most full time jobs. Sounds lovely but it’s not based in reality.

  15. Dee says:

    This is completely not doable in reality with the type of work responsibilities I have and kids in the evening. I dream of days like this when they are grown, though.