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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.

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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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