I know how busy and hectic life can seem. There are a million things going on. It may be work, your spouse, your home, kids, family members, or friends. How can we pull it all together, tackle it all, and have time for ourselves? It can sometimes seem impossible.

I’d be lying if I said I still don’t feel overwhelmed at times. We all do. I am a lot more satisfied now and these are five of the most important things I do to make life more manageable.

Find your Identity

Figure out who you want to be. Disregard what anyone else will think. In a vacuum, what will make you the happiest and fulfilled? Look forward to the day you pass away, what would you most regret? What would that “you” tell you now? What should you stop doing? What should you start doing?

We only live once. We need to enjoy the struggle of life. The only way that happens is if we know the struggle is worth something… that we are progressing toward our better selves.

Find Who is Important to You

Think of the most important person in your life. Are you doing your best for him or her? Many of us stumble and falter when we strive for goals that only benefit ourselves. When your goals and responsibilities positively impact others that are important to us, we tend to keep going for them.

Take the time to be the very best that you can be for the most important people in your life. Give them the time and effort they deserve. By serving them, you will gain clarity for yourself.

Identify and Avoid Distraction

If you have direction and you know who is important to you, you should also know what is bad for you. What stops you from being your best for yourself and the loved ones you thought of in step two? Do you take on tasks from friends, family, and co-workers that don’t align with your goals? Do you find yourself wasting time watching TV or on social media when you could be doing something to progress toward your ideal self?

Time is your most valuable asset. We waste it because we don’t know the balance. We can’t see that we’re running low on funds. You may go broke tomorrow. Every minute you waste is the time that could have been spent on learning, growing, and on your relationships. Spend your time wisely by investing your precious time on what should be most important.

Develop Good Routines

I never knew how much time I was wasting until I developed a good routine. It started in the morning. I cram a lot into the hours of 5am and 8am. When you do that, you realize how precious 10 minutes can be.

Developing a good routine, rhythm, or “flow” can help you gain a lot of clarity on what knocks you off track. When you operate at peak efficiency, you begin to notice when you feel bad or out-of-sync. That feeling of being in a “flow” and being knocked out of “flow” was a startling feeling when I had it the first time. Each day, I am better able to identify what gets me in, and out of, a good flow.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail. Sometimes, learning what you want requires learning what you don’t want first. We never know what we enjoy in don’t enjoy until we try it. I don’t like kale. I do like broccoli. So I eat broccoli. I don’t like the gym, I do like working out at home. I didn’t want my marriage to fall apart. I didn’t want to be an unhealthy, fat, miserable old man. I didn’t want to hate to go to work each day. So I found ways to change my direction.

Sometimes you have to run into a wall to change direction. That’s ok. Fail, then learn and move on. Change direction. True misery comes from running into that same wall day after day to prove that you’re right or relentless. In the end, you’ll just be bruised and beaten. Don’t do that.

Life is too short to worry about the things that don’t matter. You deserve to live the life that you want. Take small steps each day to make your life a bit better. In time, big changes come from the small steps you take today.