Life is a whirlwind of people to see, places to go, and things to do. Does your life feel like a never-ending To-Do List? If so, I invite you to apply 20 simple but powerful changes you can make to simplify your life today.
1. Eliminate distractions
Disable all text notifications that serve no purpose. Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail notifications are the Big Three that are probably eating up more time than you could ever imagine.
2. Stop judging other people
Does carrying a grudge or being judgmental ever make you feel any better about yourself? It might give you temporary gratification, but is it really worth your time and effort? I don’t think so.
3. Live in the moment
How many times have you walked right past a beautiful thing without even noticing it? Look at the glorious sun, floating clouds, shining stars, and gigantic trees in your backyard. Pay attention to the beauty surrounds you every day.
4. Spend less time behind the wheel
Stop spinning your wheels without purpose. Make grocery-shopping a weekly occasion and errand-running a monthly event. Most bills can be set-up on automatic payment, so check in with your bank and service providers to automate your financial life.
5. Compliment total strangers
There are few things more wonderful than a random compliment. The next time you go downtown, offer a kind word to a total stranger. Maybe they have a cute purse, stylish hat, or snazzy suit that you think is super neat. You just might make somebody’s day in ten words or less.
6. Cook in bulk
Who says you need to prepare a fresh meal every day? Prepare a week of meals on the least busy day-of-the-week and then all you have to do is zap them when it’s chow-time. You will be more likely to make healthy decisions and you’ll have more time for those other things you tend to put off (working out, anybody?).
7. Wake up an hour early
This simple change could make a world of difference in the quality of your morning. Wake up an hour early and you could perform a quick exercise, read a few chapters in that novel you can’t put down, prepare a delicious breakfast, or a combination of all-of-the-above.
8. Prepare your gym gear the night before
Do you tend to skip out on your workouts? Go ahead and prepare to hit the gym the night before you do it. If you workout in the morning, lay your workout attire on your dresser so it is the very first thing you will see in the morning. If you workout after work, pack up your stuff and toss it in the car so you’ll be less likely to “run out of time” in the morning.
9. Silence your phone
Please don’t be one of those people who answers their phone when they are in line at the grocery store or out for drinks with friends. It can wait — I promise.
10. Outsource business tasks
Are you a self-employed business owner or blogger? If so, you might want to consider outsourcing certain tasks that you’re not good at. I self-publish books on Amazon, but must confess I’m a lousy graphic designer, so I would never try to produce a cover myself. I also out-source things like logo design, some marketing functions, formatting jobs, and really just about anything I can. Even if you’re operating on a shoe-string budget, you can find affordable freelancers at Fiverr and Upwork who would be happy to do a bang-up job on your project without digging a hole in your wallet.
Breathing is essential to life, yet it is so easy to forget to do. When is the last time you took a few moments to breathe with intention? Short, rushed breaths will make you feel stressed out while long, deep breaths will help you become calm and cool. Focus on deep breathing while driving to work in the morning. If you’re doing it right, your belly should come forward with each inhale and move backward with each exhale.
12. Stop complaining
Yes, gas is outrageously expensive, but what can you do about it? Maybe that restaurant meal wasn’t the best thing ever, but why would you fuss at your waiter when it wasn’t his fault? Stepping in dog poop is a bummer, but is pitching a temper tantrum going to make you feel any better? Complaining is often an exercise in futility that just makes you more stressed out, so knock it off.
13. Say “please” and “thank you”
Show appreciation to the people around you for a happier life experience for everyone involved.
14. Ask for help
You are not alone in the world, so why wouldn’t you turn to trusted friends or colleagues if you need help with something? I’m always asking my followers for feedback about book ideas. I seek guidance from mentors when I could use a gentle push in the right direction of my business goals. My friends and family are always here for me if I’m under stress and just need someone to listen. Don’t feel like you’re inconveniencing a person by asking for help, because more often than not, people enjoy offering a helping hand. This gives them an opportunity to be helpful, which will make them feel needed, and they will appreciate the fact that you thought to turn to them.
15. Slow down at the dinner table
Why are you in such a hurry all the time? As Ganhdi said, “there is more to life than increasing its speed.” Don’t shovel your food down your throat without thought process. Eat mindfully while paying attention to the aroma, texture, and taste of your food. Focus while you chew and try to imagine all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish. Slowing down will help you avoid eating past the point of fullness, which will help you lose weight.
16. Stay positive
If it isn’t positive, don’t say it. There is already enough darkness in the world. Be a source of light.
Feeling down? Smile anyway (even if you don’t feel like it!). The act of smiling, be it genuine or forced, can improve your mood and reduce stress. In addition, it’s quite difficult to remain bummed out when you a beaming smile on your face (I dare you to prove me wrong).
18. Learn to say “no”
It’s wonderful to have tons of friends who are always inviting you to do things, but saying “yes” to every invite that crosses your path could make you feel overwhelmed in a hurry. I know you might be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, but please understand that alone time is necessary for your mental health. If you’re faced with an invite you don’t want to accept, say something like, “I’m sorry, but I can’t make it. We will catch-up soon.” You also might want to click here to learn the gentle art of saying “no.”
19. Be a kid
Who says adults can’t play board-games, climb trees, blow bubbles, build sandcastles, or have a water-gun fight? You are never too old for fun.
20. Take action
Devouring all of the personal development articles in the world won’t save you if you’re not willing to take action. I’m happy you’re reading this article because that means you want to simplify your life, but words without action are meaningless. Are you willing to commit to make a positive change? If so, leave a comment telling me what change you are going to make today.