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Editing Your Life

Editing Your Life

I’ve been working with a lot of editing lately: removing dead space and clicks and “ums” from audio podcasts, clipping off the unimportant or blurry in video footage, trimming useless or hard-to-understand words out of posts and articles. It strikes me that editing is an important part of maintaining a productive and effective life.

  • Edit Your Commitments– We tend to take on lots of recurring tasks in our lives, and then we stay slave to them, simply because we said yes at some point. Maybe you’re coaching a softball team years after your kids have moved on. You have some sense of obligation, but you’re not really in love with the duty. Find a way to say no with grace. Trim back all the things you’ve committed to, as gracefully as you can (so as not to hurt other people’s feelings), until you’ve found more time for the things that matter most.
  • Edit Your Consumption– How many magazines and newspapers come to the house. Do you read them all, cover to cover? Compare that to how much time you have to do the things you say matter to you. Can you see where a few of those magazines could stop being renewed? How about TV shows? Can you limit your alotted time to 1 hour a day max? How about 3 hours a week?
  • Edit Your Hobbies– I have MANY friends who fall prey to this one. They are creative, and they express it in as many ways possible. Do you play guitar, scrapbook, draw, make movies, write fiction, bake, and build robots? Is there a chance that the phrase “the enemy of great is good” is at play in your life? Meaning: if you cut a few of those hobbies out (even for a four month trial), would you find even more time to focus and improve the few you leave in place?
  • Edit Your Expenses– A large cup of coffee at a nice coffee shop might be $3.00 US. But that’s not a lot to spend on your first great cup of joe in the morning, right? 3×5=15.00 a week; 15×50= $750 a year. That’s a new Mac Mini and a free iPod in exchange for those three dollars a day. Are there places where saving a bit more will help you fund your dreams?
  • Edit Your Holidays– We put lots of energy into what goes on around the holidays. We feel obligated to send cards, obligated to buy gifts for everyone, obligated to observe the rituals of our culture in the most traditional of ways. But what would happen, truly, if you politely chose to do otherwise? What if you sent cards early to the relatives with whom you normally exchange gifts and said, “We love you, and appreciate seeing you around the holidays. Your gifts are always generous. We have all that we need or want. Instead of a gift, would you have us to dinner one night? That would make us happier than anything that comes wrapped with a bow.” Be graceful, as people have emotions wrapped tightly in gift giving, but see whether you can edit SOME of this back.
  • Edit Your Ambitions– Sure, Buckaroo Banzai was a nuclear scientist, brain surgeon, test pilot, and leader of the band the Hong Kong Cavaliers, but are you ready to take on all the various ambitions you’ve set out for yourself? Review your sense of where you want to go in life. Does it make senes? Why do you want to be a vice president? Why do you want to start your own company? Make sure you’re still in alignment with your goals, and question deeply whether they match the life you’re leading.

Obviously, the point isn’t to edit out things you love. If I’ve hit on your favorite thing in the world up there in the list, leave that one in place. The point is to really stare deeply into the life you’re leading right now, take stock, and determine just how much of what you’re doing is excess that could be edited to make room for the material that matters most. I encourage you to try the exercise, and if you’ve any ideas on what else to edit, share with the readers. Lifehack.org is about you, so your comments make these posts better. What can you edit?

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— Chris Brogan takes time out from editing to produce podcasts and video casts at Grasshopper Factory. Something needs editing at [chrisbrogan.com], but he’s not willing to admit it, yet.

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Published on July 15, 2019

10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

6. Walk as Much as You Can 

Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

9. Practice Self Care 

Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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10. Embrace Learning 

You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

So start making your life better — today!

Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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