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11 Habits that Will Make Your Life Simpler

11 Habits that Will Make Your Life Simpler

More and more we are realizing that simpler is better: that when we simplify our lives the better they get. From a young age I realized that happiness was in simplicity, but it took me many years to realize how to make it work — to realize that the adoption of routines and habits could make my life better, not boring.

Here are 11 habits that I have adopted over the years that have contributed to making my life easier, and a lot happier!

Give Your Kids a Routine

To many parents, living with routine is a normal part of life. It took me until the birth of my third child to accept and adopt routines. I was 24 when I had my first child, too young and cool to accept structure in my life. I loved spontaneity and resisted routine. It took me ten years to realize I wasn’t doing myself any favors. Stick to bedtimes, mealtimes and bath times. Kids feel more secure in the structure and you get to have more relaxed free time for yourself.

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Plan Your Week in Advance

Use a calendar and plan your week. Include all appointments, meetings and work that needs to be done. You are much more likely to do the work if it is scheduled in your calendar. Your calendar is the number one tool to beat procrastination.

Write Things Down

Get everything out of your head weekly. Write down all your tasks, responsibilities, ideas, goals and dreams. By getting everything out of your head you are not going around with an overloaded brain, which disturbs your focus and ability to think clearly.

Use a Task Manager

When you get everything out of your head, you should get the tasks you need to do either into a task manager or your calendar. Tasks that are date- or time-specific should go into your calendar and all other tasks can go into your task manager. I use Evernote to store my tasks, it has the added benefit of capturing everything and giving you a place to store reference items, such as social security numbers or any other details that you may need at a moment’s notice.

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Stay Clutter-free

Clear out your home and your office regularly. The less stuff you have the less complicated your life will be. Keep it simple when it comes to personal belongings; don’t hang on to stuff that is neither useful nor beautiful. The more I clear from my house and my office, the lighter I feel. There is less to tidy and sort through each day, giving me more free time to do whatever I want.

Clean as You Go

My mommy always told me, “Clean as you go.” I was never good at taking advice, but when I finally decided to accept her wise words I started to benefit from more free time at the weekends. Always wash the dinner plates after dinner. Get the kids to clear up their toys after they finish playing with them. Try and stay alert to what needs to be put away. Tidying as you go will keep the place neat and organized.

Plan Your Meals

Plan out your meals for the week before you go shopping. It will save you time in the shops, save you money because you will eat everything you buy, and save you a lot of stress by having it all planned out. Weekly shopping and weekly meal planning are great ways to save time and money.

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Create a Budget

Keep tabs on what you spend each day and enter it into a spreadsheet for later analysis. Write in everything you spend money on in the month and look to see if you can make any savings. When you know what you spend, you can make an informed decision about whether your current spending pattern is the best way to spend your hard-earned cash. When you know how much you want to spend on shopping, entertainment, presents etc. — stick to it.

Disconnect

Having down time is essential for our health, wellbeing and sanity. Make sure you have times where you disconnect from electronics and you live in the real world for a period. Time out in nature will do you and your body good. Take back the control of your life and create a regular habit of disconnection.

Learn to Say, “No”

Helping others is a noble trait, but it is also important to recognize when helping others is making you suffer. Get into the habit of putting yourself and your family first. If you say, “Yes,” to helping someone at work, does that mean you have to say, “No,” to reading a bedtime story?

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Be Present

The more we can live in the present moment, the simpler and happier our lives will become. As Lao Tzu said:

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the moment.

Learn to simplify your life and be grateful for all the things that you have in it. Happiness does not come from more possessions and more achievements. Happiness is in simplicity.

More by this author

Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on October 14, 2019

10 Simple Ways To Increase Metabolism Without Working Out

10 Simple Ways To Increase Metabolism Without Working Out

When it comes to increasing your metabolism, getting a good workout a couple of times a week is only one of many players. If you’re not a fan of lifting heavy stuff, then you’re only expending extra energy for that, say, one hour of that specific day. But what about the remaining 23 hours? How can you make sure you’re burning blubber all throughout the day? Here are 10 simple ways to increase your metabolism without working out.

1. Stand More

Many health practitioners claim that sitting is the new smoking. We sit in the office, we sit in the car, we sit when we get home. It’s not only terrible for your health and posture, but you require a lot less energy when seated. So, a good way to ignite the furnace a bit is to stand as much as possible through out the day. You work in an office? Put two boxes under your keyboard or laptop. There are many free solutions to making a standing desk—so you have no excuses. When you’ve gotten used to standing while working you will quickly find that it’s easier to stay engaged as well—you’re less inclined to drift away mentally. In fact, this post was written standing.

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2. Gamify Your Life

Toys such as the Fitbit or Nike Fuelband, or apps like Argus, can help you increase your metabolism by giving you an incentive to walk more. Argus, and other apps like it, use the accelerometer in your smartphone to measure your steps and let you know when you’ve hit your daily goal. Fitbit and the Nike Fuelband do the same, but have a host of other functions to make being healthy a tad more fun.

3. Eat Your Veggies

Fibrous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli increase your metabolism by putting your digestive system on overdrive. It just simply requires more energy to break down the tough fiber of these nutritional powerhouses. You’ll also start feeling like a rock star from the overload of vitamins and minerals from eating more vegetables.

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4. Eat Protein

This is one of those rules that’s not to be misunderstood. While it does boost your metabolism to eat more protein, it should be instead of other foods, not on top of other foods. If you’re stuffing your face with a chicken breast when you’re not hungry just to boost your metabolism, you’re doing it wrong. Of the three macro-nutrients—fats, carbs and protein—protein is the one that requires the most energy to break down. So, if you switch out some of those cheese sandwiches with a few hardboiled eggs you’re on the right path.

5. Drink Loads Of Cold Water

Drinking a few glasses of ice-cold water in the morning can boost your metabolism quite effectively. Your body expends energy on constantly staying in homeostasis when it comes to temperature, so if you chug a bunch of icy water you’re making your body expend more energy on keeping itself at the same temperature. Using temperature to expend more energy is called thermogenesis and it’s one of the most efficient ways of cranking up your calorie burning—more on this further down.

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6. Spice Up Your Meals

Spices like cayenne, chilli, ginger and turmeric ignite your metabolism and make your meals a bit more exciting. If you make it a habit to add a little bit of spice to each of your meals it can be a habit that turns you into a fat-burning furnace.

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    7. Drink Caffeine

    No, drinking loads of coffee is not bad for you. The sugar and heavy cream you could be inclined to chase it down with might be though. Caffeine helps mobilize—that is, get rid of—adipose tissue, or fat. It also helps athletic performance, and some individuals report it to have appetite-curbing effects. If you’re very sensitive to stimulants, try not to have caffeine too close to bedtime though, as it can mess with your sleep.

    8. Plan Your Meals Around Exercise

    I know the title of this post says “…Without Working Out” but this trick technically is more a nutritional trick than an exercise-related one. When you’ve exerted yourself and, hopefully, broken down some muscle fibers, your protein synthesis, or the rate at which you build muscle, increases. So, having heavy meals after a workout will make sure those calories get stored in the right places. This is one of the reasons it’s a good idea to get a heavy session in before the Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

    9. Do Intermittent Fasting

    It’s long been said you should always eat a heavy breakfast as it kick starts your metabolic rate. There hasn’t been any study proving this though. There have only been behavioral studies correlating obesity with breakfast skippers, but it’s always been a case of confusing correlation with causation. It’s not the fact that you skip breakfast that makes you fat; it’s the poor food choices you make throughout the rest of your day. Studies have shown that fat burning increases the longer you get into a fast, obviously depending on the body fat level of the individual. In fact, in one study lowered metabolic rate did not occur until 60 hours into a fast. Intermittent fasting is very much one of the bigger wins when it comes to increasing your metabolism.

    10. Use Cold Exposure

    For some reason it’s been common knowledge for a while that sweating increases metabolic rate. Scientist have known for a while though that the opposite is actually true; exposing yourself to cold temperatures increase your calorie burn significantly. Just slight shifts in your home temperature can mean pounds lost or gained when you gather the numbers yearly. How else do you think swimmer Michael Phelps is able to eat 12,000 calories a day? Obviously, he swims hours each day, but it’s not just the exercise he gets from swimming that allows him to consume such quantities of food, it’s also the amount of energy the body has to expend to keep itself at its baseline temperature in the cold water. So, taking ice-cold showers, decreasing the temperature of your home, or swimming in cool pools will help you burn a lot more calories.

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