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7 Effective Ways To De-Junk Your Life

7 Effective Ways To De-Junk Your Life

    If you purge your life of random belongings, bad habits, and unsatisfying relationships you’ll be left with something scary: time and space. What you do with all the extra time and space in your life after putting these tips into action is something we can discuss in the comments.

    Better yet, I’ll grab a bunch of readers and we’ll swing by your house to help you clean out this evening. Fun idea, right? Too soon? Okay. Pick one of the following and see where it takes you. It’s time to de-junk your life!

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    1. Say something honest every day

    Lies are rubbish. You don’t need them in your life. You might find some justification to lie to others but that justification only comes after a lie to yourself about the importance of truth. What to do? Take something you were planning on talking about already and be honest in your conversation. Being honest is a lot like lying in that it gets easier with practice.

    2. Make a list of 7 things you can’t replace

    You can start the next meme on Facebook with this if you like. No matter what it takes to get you started, the important thing is that you take the time to figure out what stuff really matters to you. Writing down the things you’d escape a house fire with will help you look at the things you’ve surrounded yourself with in a different way. Do you really need that inflatable killer whale? Do you actually play that piano? What you do once you’ve prioritized your stuff is up to you. My experience says that you’ll probably get rid of some junk as a result.

    3. Make a list of 5 people you can’t live without

    This isn’t a list you should publicize unless you want to deal with hurt feelings from your greater social group. Keep it private but make your resulting actions tangible and as public as needed for them to count. If you like, continue your list with a relationship maintenance schedule. Stop kidding yourself about the value of spontaneity and make sure you’re actually keeping in touch with the people who matter to you. You already use Facebook to keep track of birthdays. No excuses.

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    4. Move into a smaller home

    This is simple. If your couch won’t fit in the new place, you can’t take it with you. Smaller spaces have a way of reminding us that open areas actually are important and should be preserved. The moving process itself should help get rid of some of your junk. If it doesn’t, you’ll be faced with all your extra things on a daily basis until you take care of them.

    5. Become a vegan for 3 months

    Jump off the fast food train for a few months and try the world of vegan cuisine. I don’t suggest this because I think the world should be vegan but because I’ve seen what a dramatic change in diet can do to your perspective on life. When you avoid animal products you turn your back on a lot of the processed junk we accept as food. Give yourself a chance to discover new foods, different recipes, and find new ways to respond to feeling hungry. After 3 months? You might return to eating animal products but you’ll never be able to go back all the way. I’m glad I didn’t.

    6. Quit your job

    You don’t have to actually quit your job for this to work. Just pretend you’ve quit and map out your next few steps. Will you change careers, go back to school, move to a difference city, or something else? For most of us, our job is the biggest deciding factor in what we do with our lives. It’s how we make our money and what we spend most of our time doing. So what would you do if you no longer had your job? Start planning. You might be surprisingly thrilled at what you discover.

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    7. Train for an endurance race

    I’m a chubby dude so the reality of running a 50-mile race is still quite far in the future. That doesn’t mean I don’t get a huge amount of value from the process though. With every mile I’m reminded of all the junk I once ate and am inspired to get leaner and faster. For now, it’s not about speed. It’s about picking a distance and completing it without stopping. Those successes carry over into every other part of my life as I face new challenges and make daily choices about what I’ll allow to take up my time. If you have a friend who trains regularly, ask them to tell you about the stress relief that endurance training provides. It continues to amaze me how much mental junk disappears during a workout. Try it!

    What do you do to de-junk your life? Do you have a tried and true process that allows you to keep your house clear of clutter and your mind free to create? The process of de-junking can be arduous and downright scary at times. I’m still in the thick of it as I write this but I’ve got a long string of successes to look back on and remind myself that I can get through today’s challenges just as I have those in the past. Can you say the same for yourself? If not, grab one of the tips I shared or one from a commenter and see if you can create a success story for yourself. We’ll be here to celebrate your win!

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    Seth Simonds

    Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    More on Building Habits

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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