I get it.
Life can be overwhelming.
We have smartphones, desktops, laptops and tablets, all essentially fulfilling the same purpose – staying connected to the world 24/7, 365 days.
Most of our time is spent looking into screens rather than in real conversations.
The problem arises when people connect happiness with buying a new gadget or adding another to our collection.
And while it is great for a few days, the excitement quickly fades off.
Wanting more never results in true happiness. (That’s why you’ll never hear a dying person regret not adding a new shiny object to their collection.)
Ironically, life becomes more meaningful when you start simplifying.
By simplifying, you create new space for things that really matter to you as an individual. You declutter and remove distractions. This gives breathing room for setting the foundation for inner peace and happiness.
I’ve created a list of 9 ways to simplify your life starting now. But you don’t have to do all of them – pick one, just one, and run with it.
But how do you define “excess”? Start with your wardrobe and take a good look. It’s easy to get caught up with things you don’t really need. We think we can’t live without certain things – but you only need a few basic items to be happy. The more you possess, the less you are in control and the less you own your life.
Take a good look at your day. Most likely, it is filled with commitments such as requests from other people and distractions. If you look closer, you’ll find many of those commitments no longer support and serve you and they aren’t in alignment with your core values. Go on, eliminate them one by one.
Believe it or not, the media impacts your attitude and beliefs. And if you consistently expose yourself to TV and news, you don’t even realise the effect it is having on your life. Soon that becomes second nature. Go on news fast for a week and see the difference. You’ll only feel the benefits once you give it a try.
Multi-tasking comes at a high price. We all do it – be it driving and speaking on the phone, sending emails and attending meetings or “listening” to a friend and texting another at the same time. The only problem? When you multi-task, your body produces stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Multi-tasking is also linked to premature aging. And guess what? Contrary to popular belief, humans cannot multi-task in the real sense of the word. It’s actually switching between tasks – and that in itself slows you down.
When it comes to setting goals, less is more. Set only a few goals at a time because that allows you to laser-focus on them easily. With each opportunity that comes up, you can ask: Does this take me a step closer to my goal? If it does, go ahead and do it. If it doesn’t, decline. Fewer goals are easier to measure. And because you set a limit on your goals, you also become wary of “other-people” goals (goals that other people want you to accomplish, for their personal benefit), which can influence you but have nothing to do with what you want.
Create distraction-free, “me” time for yourself. In order to establish this, be willing to say no often. Be honest – are you spreading yourself too thin and juggling multiple things? Focus on important, not urgent. Filter out what needs to be attended and say “no” to the rest.
Ever heard of “death by choice”? That used to happen to me every evening after work. What to prepare for dinner? That can give you a real headache. A simple strategy to follow is "meal-plans". Plan your weekly meals ahead of time so you can get all the ingredients at once. This also reduces your trips to the grocery store (especially if you have kids).
This is especially true for entrepreneurs and small business owners. If your inbox situation is like mine, you have a ton of unwanted email still unread, scattered in multiple accounts. The first step is to tie in all your incoming email to one inbox. Consolidate all your email in one place. Next, be ruthless and unsubscribe from any service/newsletter subscription that isn’t adding any value to your life. Set up a system and filter all important/urgent emails with corresponding labels so you don’t have a bucket-load of messages to go through each time you login.
Research states that happiness and money are linked only up to an income of $75,000 pa. Beyond that, money doesn't add to the happiness bank. Start by automating payments. Money doesn’t have to be a difficult issue. Set your bills to automatically get deducted from your account when due. Set up a savings account and have it debited a certain amount every week. Reduce the number of accounts you have and have only one (or no) credits cards – it’s easy to miss a payment and get stuck in debt. To manage your money well, try a system like JARS by T. Harv Eker.
You don’t have to do all of the above at once. Pick one and take consistent action. Keep adding to your list as you go. But before you go, tell us which one you’ve picked!
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