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Published on July 30, 2019

13 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Be Happier

13 Ways to Simplify Your Life and Be Happier

What makes you happy? The sky is the limit when it comes to determining what happiness means to us and creating our mission to achieve it. Things tend to get overwhelming when we attach unnecessary tasks, items, and clutter to this thought of happiness.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a beautiful home with paintings on the walls, a cozy pool in the backyard, and a garden full of flowers. But remember that, even luxuries come with responsibilities which can easily turn into clutter and additional stress.

Simplifying, it should be easy but, it is harder when we’re put to the task. It’s tough not to feel overwhelmed when we think about decluttering years of accumulated stuff, cleaning out our hard drives, or even our day-to-day tasks. It’s easier to sweep them under the rug or save them in the “later” pile.

It all comes down to control, and with that control, we determine our own happiness.

You can live a simplified life and still be happy. Here are 13 ways to simplify your life.

1. Limit Your Options

Part of living simply is to narrow down the vast choices you have to make on the daily. Some items may truthfully be unnecessary.

Look closely at your to do list and eliminate tasks that are not of importance and see if you can bulk several things together. Having a long to-do list can be overwhelming, and be mindful that our energy is finite.

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2. Time Blocks

As an entrepreneur, time luxury can sometimes feel more like a curse than a blessing. Set working hours for yourself, especially when it comes to completing individual projects.

Blocking your schedule or setting time frames to complete specific tasks can help keep you on track without being tempted by outside distractions. This is a way to let your brain know when it’s time to work and when it’s time to unwind.

3. Prepare the Night Before

Eliminate unnecessary tasks by preparing your items the night before. Although it might take you ten minutes to gather your work items in the morning, why not get it done the night before and use that extra time to meditate or read the paper?

4. Set Your Pace

Every morning, we make the conscious decision of setting our pace for the day. Think back to a moment when you had woken up late for work and felt irritated and overwhelmed.

Our actions and reactions play like domino pieces, which either raises or lowers our vibrations. When you’re having a bad day, it’s usually caused by one thing that affects another and so forth.

By being intentional of our pace, we have the control to stop at any moment to step back and reset. Start your morning off right by intentionally deciding how your day will unfold.

5. Find What Works for You

There are many ways to balance your bank accounts. What works for you may not work for another person, and the great thing about modern technology is the abundance of applications that are readily available on your computer or phone.

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Take some dedicated time to find your routines and go tos: 40 Top Productivity Apps for iPhone

6. Worry Only When Needed

This one will take some practice. If we’re not conscious of our thoughts, our worries can travel with us throughout the day.

There are ways to be proactive when the thoughts start caving in such as setting aside time to worry and only worry. When doing this practice, you’ll begin to realize how much time and energy is spent worrying on certain things and how repetitive some of these worries may be.

Whether it be 5 minutes or 15 minutes, spend that time addressing those worries and leave those worries there when that time is up.

7. Meal Prep

Meal preparation does not have to be hard or complicated. Preparing one or two meals in advance can take a considerable load off of your shoulders and save you some extra dollars. Some simple and easy ideas include making double the portion of a recipe or using jars to make easy to grab and go breakfasts.

This guide can help you kickstart meal prep-ing: The Ultimate Meal Prep Starter Kit! All You Need is Here!

8. Limit Your Tabs

Time to look at your current explorer. How many tabs do you have open at this moment?

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Limit yourself to having four tabs open at all times. If there’s something you want to read, bookmark the page to read for later and close the tab afterwards.

Eliminating unnecessary tabs is a way to keep focus on the task up front.

9. Try Audiobooks and Podcasts

Ever have a book you’ve been wanting to read but don’t have the time to?

Audiobooks are great to listen to during your commute or even at the gym. Nowadays, there are audiobooks and podcasts for almost everything – self-development, finance, food, and even astrology.

Change up your routine by plugging into a show and learn something new along the way. It’s a great way to simplify your life and be mindful of your time.

10. Stop Procrastinating

Sometimes the things we put off can easily be done in two mintues. Follow the “Two-Minute rule” – if a task comes up and can be done in two minutes, then just do it. This helps with procrastination and keeps your to-do list short.

Here’s also a guide to help you stop procrastinating: What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

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11. Avoid Overconsuming Media

Limiting your screen time forces you to get moving. It’s easy to get lost in the never-ending world of news, incoming emails, and entertainment but, it’s all about consuming your digital information efficiently. You can simplify your life by managing your inbox and using the Two-Minute rule.

For example, read your message in your inbox and ask yourself if there is an action that needs to be taken. If the action takes two minutes, do the task right then and there. If the action will take more than two minutes, put the message in a designated folder to return to. Simple tricks like these will keep your inbox from overflowing.

12. Stop Overcomplicating Things

When it comes down to it, life’s pretty simple. Perfection is an illusion, and as a result, we become less efficient and less effective when we strive to achieve that illusion.

Don’t get hung up on the details and ask yourself if it matters. Some of the greatest ideas have a simple message; hence you should “just do it.”

13. Be Adaptable

Schedule changes and even life plans can happen at any moment. The best way to live a simplified life is first learning to adapt to change and riding those waves as they come.

Being adaptable also means preparing for the unexpected. Start your rainy day fund while you have generated income and pay off that credit card sooner rather than later.

Learn more about the importance of being adaptable: Adapting to Change: Why It Matters and How to Do It

Start including these 13 things into your daily routines, make them your habits. And soon, you’ll be living a more simplified life and feel happier.

More About Simplifying Life

Featured photo credit: Kerri Shaver via unsplash.com

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Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on October 22, 2019

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

How to Focus and Concentrate Better to Boost Productivity

We live in a world of massive distraction. No matter where you are today, there is always going to be distractions. Your colleagues talking about their latest date, notification messages popping up on your screens, and not just your mobile phone screens. And even if you try to find a quiet place, there will always be someone with a mobile device that is beeping and chirping.

With all these distractions, it is incredibly difficult to concentrate on anything for very long. Something will distract you and that means you will find it very difficult to focus on anything.

So how to focus and concentrate better? How to focus better and produce work that lifts us and takes us closer towards achieving our outcomes?

1. Get Used to Turning off Your Devices

Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.

So turn them off. Your battery will thank you for it. More importantly though is when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.

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You do not need to do this for very long. You could set a thirty-minute time frame for being completely mobile free. Let’s say you have an important piece of work to complete by lunchtime today. Turn off your mobile device between 10 am and 11 am and see what happens.

If you have never done this before, you will feel very uncomfortable at first. Your brain will be fighting you. It will be telling you all sorts of horror stories such as a meteorite is about to hit earth, or your boss is very angry and is trying to contact you. None of these things is true, but your brain is going to fight you. Prepare yourself for the fight.

Over time, as you do this more frequently, you will soon begin to find your brain fights you less and less. When you do turn on your device after your period of focused work and discover that the world did not end, you have not lost an important customer and all you have are a few email newsletters, a confirmation of an online order you made earlier and a text message from your mum asking you to call about dinner this weekend, you will start to feel more comfortable turning things off.

2. Create a Playlist in Your Favourite Music Streaming App

Many of us listen to music using some form of music streaming service, and it is very easy to create our own playlists of songs. This means we can create playlists for specific purposes.

Many years ago, when I was just starting to drive, there was a trend selling driving compilation tapes and CDs. The songs on these tapes and CDs were uplifting driving music songs. Songs such as C W McCall’s Convoy theme and the Allman Brothers Band’s, Jessica. They were great songs to drive to and helped to keep us awake and focused while we were driving.

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Today, we can create playlists to help us to focus on our work. Choose non-vocal music that has a low tempo. Music from artists such as Ben Böhmer, Ilan Bluestone or Andrew Bayer has the perfect tempo.

Whenever you want to go into deep, focused work, listen to that playlist. What happens is your brain soon associates when you listen to the playlist you created with focused work and it’s time to concentrate on what it is you want to do.

3. Have a Place to Go to When You Need to Concentrate

If you eat, surf online and read at your desk, you will find your desk a very distracting place to do your work. One way to get your brain to understand it is focused work time is, to use the same place each time for just focused work.

This could be a quiet place in your office, or it could be a special coffee shop you use specifically for focused work. Again, what you are doing is associating an environment with focus.

Just as with having a playlist to listen to when you want to concentrate, having a physical place that accomplishes the same thing will also put you in the right frame of mind to be more focused.

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When you do find the right place to do your focused work, then only do focused work there. Never surf, never do any online shopping. Just do your work and then leave. You want to be training your brain to associate focused work with that environment and nothing else.

If you need to make a phone call, respond to an email or message, then go outside and do it. From now on, this place is your special working place and that is all you use it for.

Every morning, I do fifteens minutes of meditation. Each time, I sit down to do my meditation, I use the same music playlist and the same place. As soon as I put my earphones in and sit down in this place, my mind immediately knows it is meditation time and I become relaxed and focused almost immediately. I have trained my brain over a few months to associate a sound and a place with relaxed, thoughtful meditation. It works.

4. Get up and Move

We humans have a limited attention span. How long you can stay focused for depends on your own personal makeup. It can range from between twenty minutes to around two hours. With practice, you can stay focused for longer, but it takes time and it takes a lot of practice.

When you do find yourself being unable to concentrate any longer, get up from where you are and move. Go for a walk, move around and get some air. Do something completely different from what you were doing when you were concentrating.

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If you were writing a report in front of a screen, get away from your screens and look out the window and appreciate the view. Take a walk in the local park, or just walk around your office. You need to give your brain completely different stimuli.

Your brain is like a muscle. There is only so much it can do before it fatigues. If you are doing some focused work in Photoshop and then switch to surfing the internet, you are not giving your brain any rest. You are still using many of the same parts of your brain.

It’s like doing fifty pushups and then immediately trying to do bench presses. Although you are doing a different exercise, you are still exercising your chest. What you need to be doing to build up superior levels of concentrated focus is, in a sense, do fifty pushups and then a session of squats. Now you are exercising your chest and then your legs. Two completely different exercises.

Do the same with your brain. Do focused visual work and then do some form of movement with a different type of work. Focused visual work followed by a discussion with a colleague about another unrelated piece of work, for example.

The Bottom Line

It is not difficult to train your brain to become better at concentrating and focusing, but you do need to exercise deliberate practice. You need to develop the intention to focus and be very strict with yourself.

Set time aside in your calendar and make sure you tell your colleagues that you will be ‘off the grid’ for a couple of hours. With practice and a little time, you will soon find yourself being able to resist temptations and focus better.

More Resources About Boosting Focus and Productivity

Featured photo credit: Wenni Zhou via unsplash.com

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