7 Ways to Simplify
Modern life, for all its wonderful conveniences and comforts can also be complicated, can’t it? Whether you’re single or married, a stay-at-home parent, a working parent, or a childfree professional, I’m betting your life and schedule are pretty full. I’m not a big-time gambler, but I’ll double down and bet that between juggling work, family, social obligations and running your home, you never feel caught up.
By now you’ve realized that chaos, whether mild or extreme, can take a toll on your health, finances, relationships and general well-being. If you’d like to feel less stressed and figure out ways to simplify life, give these seven simplify-life tips a try.
Create a priorities filter.
Poor time management isn’t about having too little time; it’s about spending the time you do have on low priority activities. Create a priorities filter by listing the five most important things in your life and when you’re feeling distracted or off track, run your time decisions through your priorities filter. Ask, “Is this activity related to one or more of my highest priorities?” If the answer is YES, it’s probably an activity worth spending time on. If the answer is NO, delegate, delay or delete the activity all together.
Pull tasks onto your calendar.
Most people have both a task list and a calendar and never the twain shall meet, which means tasks often stay on the list indefinitely. Life happens in real time, so unless you move tasks from a list to your calendar, they’ll never get done.
Make your calendar your personal assistant.
If you have trouble saying no when others ask for your time or energy, make your calendar the bad guy. Your calendar is a linear representation of the abstract concept of time, so use it as your personal assistant before saying yes to a new volunteer commitment, social engagement or even a single appointment. Once you begin integrating tasks onto your calendar, you’ll realize you don’t have as much discretionary time as it appeared.
Pay attention to your space.
When you have a tiny apartment, mid-size house or spacious mansion, if you’re like most people, you fill the space you have, so getting a larger space isn’t the answer. The secret to avoiding a big clutter pile-up is monitoring your home and work areas for clutter every day. Notice your surroundings. Pay attention to what’s on the counter, under the desk, and filling the flat surfaces of your home and work areas. Just a teeny little bit of de-cluttering every few weeks helps keep your life manageable.
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Control your paper.
Parkinson’s Law states that work expands to fill the time available and so it goes with paper clutter. The more space you have to pile and stash it, the more of it you keep and the longer it goes unchecked. Go digital by scanning documents yourself or with a NeatDesk or Fujitsu ScanSnap, use Manilla to eliminate paper statements and bills, and opting out of junk mail. Digitally preserve images of your kids’ artwork by scanning it yourself or with ArtKive or make a digital photobook with a service such as Picasa, Linea or Shutterfly.
I know you’re tired after work. I know you’re tired in the morning. I know you don’t have it in you to hit the gym five times a week. Exercise doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. Movement in itself is beneficial for keeping lymphatic fluid moving through your body and studies show that even 20 minutes of exercise a day is beneficial, especially if you use interval training to spike and drop your heart rate. As with de-cluttering, a little effort consistently is better than a lot of effort sporadically.
Commit to sleep.
Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and those around you. When you get enough sleep, you’re prepared mentally and physically to perform better in all aspects of your life. Ample sleep means your energy is higher, your attitude is better, you’re more likely to make smarter food choices and you’re better able to serve those around you. So for a better quality of life, knock off those late night Facebook chats in favor of a date with your pillow instead.
Give some of these simplify-life tips a try to watch your stress levels decrease and your life become more organized.