The man without a purpose is a man who drifts at the mercy of random feelings or unidentified urges and is capable of any evil, because he is totally out of control of his own life. In order to be in control of your life, you have to have a purpose—a productive purpose . . . . The man who has no purpose, but has to act, acts to destroy others. That is not the same thing as a productive or creative purpose. ~ Ayn Rand, “Playboy Interview”I'm really starting to master the habit of living purposefully. I define purposefulness as "The systematic identification of goals and objectives to achieve." Over the past couple years I have done a lot of self-reflection to discover my central purpose in life, with corresponding long term and short term goals. By systematically approaching goal setting, I regularly review my long term goals to ensure consistency with short term goals. By systematically approaching goal setting, I ensure the time I spend on activities is consistent with my central purpose. By systematically approaching goal setting, I maintain a harmony in my life that is quite fulfilling and rewarding.
Done well, living purposefully leads to value-dense living. The goals and objectives chosen should integrate with your hierarchy of values to provide maximal happiness and fulfillment. Your values specify what you want to gain and/or keep. But in order to gain and/or keep something, you have to identify how you plan on gaining and/or keeping it. Hence, goals. To make things value-dense, you should strive to find goals that combine as many values together as possible. Goals should not be developed in isolation, but should support and build on one another. For example, I love technology and business so I became an information systems academic. But I also love studying and applying philosophy, so I apply philosophy to my teaching and research where appropriate. By setting appropriate goals, I achieve multiple values, thereby living value-dense.
There is plenty more to say about this, but it'll wait for another day.